It takes about twenty-two seconds into “The Mother We Share” before you’re looking up the next house of worship that Chvrches are playing. With the help of band-mates Iain Cook on his synth-pads and Martin Doherty’s sample-claps, lead-singer Lauren Mayberry’s voice echoes through your ear, sounding part robo-bird, part angelic android. By the time the first verse arrives, Mayberry’s voice is stripped to its normal soft, almost timid tone. She vows, “We’ve come as far as we’re ever gonna get,” but as the rest of the band comes sweeping in, in their full glory, you know she’s wrong – this is just the beginning for Chvrches.
Chances are, if you’re familiar with the Glasgow trio, it’s due to “The Mother We Share”, released over a year ago. Just a few months after the putting their first song (“Lies”) on the internet to great interest, “The Mother We Share” came out and quadrupled the buzz, proclaiming that this was a seriously talented band with astronomical ambition. Their next singles, “Recover” and “Gun” with their corresponding EPs, proved that despite a debut album still waiting in the wings, this was a band that’d already come closer to perfecting their sound than some bands who are four or five LPs into their craft.
Their synthpop style has been compared to The Knife and Purity Ring, but unlike their contemporaries, Chvrches‘ sailing and cinematic sound contains elements of legends that the trio have publicly admitted their affection for, like Prince a la “Purple Rain” or The Cure on “Plainsong”.
Just when you think the band can only do epic anthems that’ll have you picturing yourself aboard a glossy star-cruiser in a flick based on the work of Philip K. Dick, Chvrches invite you aboard their vessel, into one of the smaller compartments, for a private sit down over tea with a good chance of tears (see “Tether” or “You Caught the Light”)
Among the few flaws on this brilliant debut is that, if you’re a devout follower, you’ve heard a third of these songs – but is that really an issue when they’re that good?
Chvrches are that rare pop-band capable of being dark and meditative or fun and philosophical in a matter of minutes, yet still sounding distinctly like themselves. At a focused 48-minutes, The Bones of What You Believe comes soaring through and makes its difficult for you not to press replay when it all fades out.