Music Reviews

The Bones Of What You Believe, by CHVRCHES

The Bones Of What You Believe Album CoverFrom Glasgow, this Scottish trio is on the move. The band is just three years young and their debut, The Bones of What You Believe (2013), has already established a favorable reputation, inviting warm praise from critics who laud the record for its electronically peppy, kaleidoscopic songs.

Rightfully so. These tracks are charged by that hot energy that hunts escape through the holes of a heart blemished by its first dose of pain in the first bloom of its youth. While for some, a heart ripped conjures little else but dense and despondent feelings, for Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, the broken heart is an apple for creative sustenance, painfully sweet as it may be.

Goddamn love hurts, but let’s dance! seems the interaction between Mayberry’s lyrical whips and the album’s sparkling keys and thumping beats. Memorable, pained line’s, such as “I’ll be a thorn in your side / Till you die” and “All that’s golden is never real,”—which floats in a constellation of pellucid notes in a nebula of electric keys—drive on beats that are just plain fun, inviting the will to dance out and melt down any lingering frost from the past; and not only just to keep on moving, but to have some damn fun already while doing it. Mayberry’s lyrics communicate the hurt of love lost while the music and energy affirm that life isn’t over, but more.

CHVRCHES ascend to greatness with “Tether,” a song that deviates from the confusing rancor born of a failing relationship, substituting instead some poignant self-reflection and consequent acceptance—a rare moment on the album. The low, determined hush of Mayberry’s vocal “I’m feeling capable of / Seeing the end / I’m feeling capable of / Saying it’s over,” sounds a solemn promise of convalescence to the self; it is delivered so pensively that it invites discomfort, as if the listener is listening to something he or she shouldn’t be listening to, like an aural diary / private truth. Only seconds later comes the cathartic blast that sends the song off into the sun of bright keys, lightning notes.

The Bones of What You Believe is a beautifully bright, feeling record, treating the pain and love of human relationships not as separate, but entwined—two snakes in one coil, and as hungry for youth as they’ve always been.