Chvrches - 'The Bones Of What You Believe' Chvrches Tickets
Scottish trio's debut album reveals the post-rock melancholia behind the electro-pop bangers
Were they even half as cynical as their naysayers suggest, Cook and Martin Doherty would be sequestered away in a studio while Mayberry styled herself like a 23rd-century geisha and gave dull interviews to fashion magazines. Judging by the songs alone, however, a degree of suspicion is perhaps understandable: Chvrches' first four singles (all present here, though 'Lies' has been re-recorded for additional polish) are so strong, it seems inconceivable that they weren't written by some shadowy cabal of electro-pop svengalis. Yet there's more to 'The Bones…' than straightforward bangers. Chvrches make music for the small hours, but it's more often of the solitary, rather than social, variety. Behind that beast of a chorus, 'The Mother We Share' is an affecting portrait of two dysfunctional but interdependent siblings, and the album's temperament – one minute Mayberry is goading you to "Take a good swing at me" on 'Gun'; the next, she's "Incapable of saying it's over" as 'Tether' reaches its crescendo – feels indisputably Scottish: outward bullishness masking a melancholic interior.
There's a strong '80s influence, of course, but there's also great songwriting: the glacial 'By The Throat' could be a lost Erasure single, while 'Science/Visions' turns Giorgio Moroder synths into a sinister electronic sacrament. The final song, 'You Caught The Light' (sung by Doherty) is the connective tissue between the band's past and present: its phosphonic guitars and stately, circuitous structure have more in common with The Unwinding Hours or The Twilight Sad than any of Chvrches' usual touchstones.
All told, while not every track has the immediacy of 'Lies' or 'Recover', there's not a weak one among them. Chvrches have stuck to the bones of their beliefs, and you're going to want to suck the marrow right out of them.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday
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|Jul 17, 2014||Somerset House||Strand London Wc2|