I first listened to The Bones Of What You Believe on a rather dull Saturday night, not expecting much. Putting on my lovely, obnoxiously large headphones, the world dripped away as soon as a particularly peppy voice engulfed my ears. The nonconformist inside me was screaming ten seconds into the song: “IT’S POP MUSIC!” The song was just so…chirpy. And I just wasn’t feeling it. What I was feeling, was to be moody and glum while blasting the aggression of Eminem followed by the self-entitled lamenting of The Neighbourhood. The rationalist inside me, however, kicked the nonconformist in the shins while telling her–quite politely, I must say–to shut up. So CHVRCHΞS (pronounced as ‘churches’) played on.
Read on to see how you can win a copy of CHVRCHΞS’ CD.
The group consists of lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty, with the latter two covering the synthesizers, guitar, bass, and additional vocals between themselves. The story of CHVRCHΞS arguably begins in May 2012 with the release of their song Lies, which premiered as a free download on the blog of the Neon Gold label. From there, they released their first debut single, The Mother We Share. After receiving positive feedback from fans and critics alike, the band continued on to release their first album, The Bones Of What You Believe.
It’s hard to believe that a band such as CHVRCHΞS has only been in existence for the past two years. This Scottish electronic band rose to stardom within the span of less than a year–not unheard of, yet impressive nonetheless. Far too often music artists that rapidly rise to popularity from a ‘hit single’ are unable to maintain the quality of their music. CHVRCHΞS, however, managed to create a cohesive and mesmerizing album that hit #12 on the Billboard charts in its first week.
With influences ranging from Prince to Whitney Houston, the band produces a unique balance of harsh synths and light vocals. The album is reminiscent of the ‘80s, yet strangely futuristic at the same time. Mayberry’s voice is, in the words of Flo Rida, “sweet like sugar”: think, twelve year old tenor church boy. Her voice is unwavering, flowing from one note to the next, spilling out emotions that are so tangible you wonder why you aren’t drowning in them. I only wish Doherty and Cook contributed more vocals, for they are perfect complements to the purity of Mayberry’s voice.
While the first listen led me to believe that the albums’s main premise was around relationship problems–yawn, next please–subsequent exposure to the music made me appreciate the flexibility in the lyrics. Whether you truly are in a complicated, mess-of-a- relationship, or are just pondering the significance of your existence, this album will mirror your train of thought. With Mayberry’s voice as a vehicle, the album begins optimistic, growing increasingly doubtful, with spurts of defiance and determination, concluding in a bittersweet tone of hope.
The progression from one song to the next is impeccable. While Night Sky caused me to second guess my life and intentions,
“Just an echo of the promise we made Change the future, we can travel time Or make us blind so we can never look back,”
the pounding rhythm and tribal-esque vocals of the song that follows, Science/Visions, forced me to understand that, no, just:
“Breathe Don’t speak It’s leaving your body now”
–everything’s going to be alright.
It’s attention to details like this that makes music fanatics such as myself swoon.
“To me this is an indie rock band,” says Doherty. “Guitars are just replaced with keyboards–we want it rough.”
But it’s not rough, Doherty- this album is refined. The command CHVRCHΞS has over the synthetic pop sound is astounding, considering the short time span in which the record was produced. It’s magical, uplifting, and happy in one moment and then insecure, fearful, and despondent the next. In other words, it’s humanity. In a twelve-song album, CHVRCHΞS manages to capture all the little nuances of what make us human.
And for that reason, what started out as a dull Saturday night transformed into something meaningful. After the last lingering note of You Caught the Light faded away, bringing a soft end to the album, even the nonconformist in me let out a sigh of satisfaction.
By Tarushi Sharma
Want to win a free copy of CHVRCHΞS’ The Bones Of What You Believe CD? Simply reply to this review by the end of school on Thursday, April 17. (Be sure to include your name.) Tell us what you think of the band, their music, or this review. The Warrior Weekly staff will select one winner from all those who respond. Good luck!