Thursday 19 December 2013

Albums of the Year 2013 #1 - Chvrches - The Bones Of What You Believe

Last year we opened our Ones to Watch 2013 list with Scottish three piece Chvrches. One year on we’re closing our Albums of 2013 run down with the same band. The Bones Of What You Believe is our favourite record of the year. We believed and they delivered more than just the bones of a great record. 

It's an album that has commercial appeal (reaching number 5 in the UK charts and number 12 on the US Billboard chart) and yet has layers and depth that bring you back for further listening in the same way a rock record often does. Maybe the bands past history in groups such as Iain Cook's post-rock Unwinding Hours or the indie beginnings of Lauren Mayberry's Blue Sky Archives subconsciously had influence on the way the songs were structured 

Look back at the albums we listed on previous posts between #15 and #2 and you’ll notice that one theme is that it’s been a good year for pop music. Not the painting by numbers mundane pop that the likes of The Saturdays or Jessie J seem to be eternally capable of pushing out, but an edgier, (dare we say it) intelligent, darker form of pop. Chvrches are absolutely an example of this. But what puts Chvrches at the top of the list is one simple thing; great songs. The Bones Of What You Believe is packed with them. From the uplifting Gun with its blood black menacing chorus : “Hide, hide, I have burned your bridges, I will be a gun, and it's you I'll come for,” to the cascading beauty of Tether, a song that transcends the boundaries of pop and becomes a stadium synth ballad of epic proportions, through to the murderous Moroder meets Vangelis pulse of Science / Visions.

Main vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s voice may sound sugary sweet but the lyrics on this record are often barbed and bitter, the beats pummelling and the synths crystal evil. We could imagine Chvrches writing a particularly good score for a horror film soundtrack. However The Bones Of What You Believe is no horror show musically, but instead a flawless collection of pop of the highest order.

We’re incredibly conscious that sometimes when a new artist puts their first song on line there’s a tendency for the likes of music blogs like Breaking More Waves to get a little over excited and proclaim the act the next big thing and then the artist is unable to live up to expectations. Chvrches not only delivered on expectations but exceeded, in the same way that Lana Del Rey did last year.

Without question our album of the year. The Bones Of What You Believe contains everything we want from a record. A meticulously crafted musically euphoric pop record that as far as we're concerned is perfect.

Missed any of our Albums of the Year 2013 posts? Find them all here.

Chvrches - The Mother We Share (Video)

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