Fortitude Album Of The Year: 7) CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe

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The Scottish trio’s debut album combines bullish song-writing with immaculate 80’s electro sounds.

Following a stint at University in law and journalism, a long passion for music re-surfaced as Lauren Mayberry began a role at The List and played for two local bands Boyfriend/Girlfriend and Blue Sky Archives. An instilled sense of roots and justice would put her in good stead for the heat ahead…

While Iain Cook produced a Blue Sky Archives EP, he joined forces with long-term University pal Martin Doherty in 2011 to begin a new project, asking the talented Mayberry to sing on demos. Buoyed by successful sessions, the trio produced their debut album in Cooks’ basement over eight months by themselves, warding off any A&R approaches in the process.

Chvrches’ was chosen over ‘Churches’ to simply make it easier for punters to find them on Google. They were rewarded with an eager, growing online crowd, fed with the brilliant ‘Recover EP’ and ‘Gun Remixes’ prior to the LP release. Early online success was highlighted by tastemakers the Guardian featuring them as ‘New Band Of The Day’ in 2012 and their biggest track today, ‘Lies’, was made available free to download on a blog of the Neon Gold label.

Released on September 20th, 2013, The Bones of What You Believe peaked at number 9 in the UK Official Charts, and notably reached 12th in the US Billboard Chart. 2013 was the year of dance, and this release only sought to heighten the fever for those dance floor anthems. You just cannot ignore the catchy, anthemic 80’s influenced synths and sounds, with a nod towards the likes of New Order and Depeche Mode. Its music made for those wee hours, or as it turns out, a decent soundtrack for video games (Fifa 14) and adverts.

The song-writing shines through each track, with typical Scottish bullishness masking an altogether melancholic tone, “I tread the water / All the while you stuck in the knife / That you held at my back” (“Gun”). This contrasts perfectly with the impassioned, life affirming and emotional voice of Mayberry, particularly on the track, “Recover”, with its simple lyrics and weightless sounds. But she’s no pixie dream girl machine. Mayberry recently argued in The Guardian that she has to put up with a barrage of sexually explicit abuse online in return for being ‘born on the internet’.  The argument in itself has won her new fans. Mayberry has always argued to stick to your roots, your “Bones of What You Believe”.

The 12-track LP is impossible to take off repeat, as any good album should be, but this one is soaked in personality and flawlessly arranged.

Electronic pop is pioneering the British music scene revival after years of US pop dominance.  Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe is at the forefront and deserves to be at least number seven in Fortitude’s albums of 2013!

‘The Bones of What You Believe’ is out now in all good record shops and online stores through Virgin Records.

Check out the previous albums which reached our Top 10:

10) Kodaline – In A Perfect World

9) Kanye West – Yeezus

8) The 1975 – Self Titled

CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share on MUZU.TV.

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