Originality is a lauded characteristic of modern music, but there’s something to be said for executing a time-honoured formula with enthusiasm and talent. CHVRCHES’ debut record, The Bones of What You Believe, is hardly original, but if, like me, your ‘80s childhood has left you with soft spot for synth pop, you won’t have any reason to complain.
The album’s influences are diverse and contemporary – the dynamic sweetness of second single (my personal favourite) “Gun,” could have easily have formed the backbone of a strong Robyn track. “Science/Visions” is reminiscent of The Knife, and final track “You Caught The Light” is an engaging slice of dream pop that feels, like much of the album, heavily influenced by M83. Even if the execution was just okay, I can’t complain about more artists venturing into this wheelhouse.
The Bones of What You Believe is a consistently strong album, built on a skeleton of simple, powerful pop songwriting and warm synth sounds. The group’s secret weapon is Lauren Mayberry, who provides lead vocals on most of the tracks; she combines otherworldy allure with an approachable honey-sweet mellifluousness and ensures that, despite the derivative core of the album, the music remains bright and exciting.