I’ve always been a fan of synthpop. At a young age, the sounds that a keyboard is able to make struck a deep fascination and interest. Certain bands know how to integrate and use electronics with their songs, and others are rely so heavily on them that the song just drowns. In the case of Scottish band Chvrches, they have the balance of being an all synth band sound as natural and organic as possible.
Since buying their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe (2013), it has been constantly on repeat. I first encountered Chvrches on the University of Miami radio station, WVUM. This station plays a lot of really cool, underground, indie bands especially from the synthpop genre. I was driving when I heard The Mother We Share, the opening track, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to Shazam it. Great app, huh? So I had to sit through the whole set and wait for the DJ to announce the listing. And right before he mentioned Chvrches, he said “Your new favorite band.” He was right! The Mother We Share is such a strong and catchy track that I had to get the album, which I did later that day and have listened to it non stop for a couple of days.
Chvrches consists of vocalist Lauren Mayberry, keyboardists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty. The band formed in 2011 and have two releases, Recover EP (2013) and The Bones of What You Believe. The sound of both releases have a very promising sound, probably shaping the future of indie synthpop. Big beats, sharp sounding leads flow throughout the album. Giving it a lot of electronic rhythms that don’t sound forced or dull. Which a lot of current synthpop has been focusing on lately. Iain and Martin have found a great balance between pushing sounds to the front and relaxing on making it overly complicated. The contrast gives the songs more of a warm tone, which is something you would want to do since keyboards can often be cold. Lauren’s vocals give the songs a clean, dreamy feel. She has somewhat of a soft voice but can project nicely over the sounds, and at moments can be really strong and direct.
The album is host to a great balance of pop and electro, so it’s really easy to listen to and move around to. A perfect example comes from their third single, Gun. A great pop song with a driving bass line with bright synth leads and big beats. Lauren’s vocals are direct and strong, it all works out. One of my favorite songs from the album is Science / Visions. This track stands out, it’s the darkest one in the collection and it has a great minimal electro disco sound. Perfect for night driving or for the dancefloor. And of course, the band’s most popular single The Mother We Share has a great mystical uplifting pop vibe, similar to The Knife’s Heartbeat, combined with uplifting colorful sounds like The Sound of Arrows.
If you’re a fan of well written pop songs, and a fan of electronic music in general, this is a great album to own in your collection. It’s Chvrches debut, so they do have a lot more to offer, but this is a great start! Cohesive songs with a signature sound, smart lyrics and great vocal performances.
PAIR THIS ALBUM WITH
Martin Codax Albariño [Rias Baixas, Spain 2011]
This is a great clean, bright, and crispy wine! With citric tones, this bottle brings a refreshing taste while having a kick of flavor of herbs, green apples, and grapefruit. This albariño will be perfect to anyone who is a pinot grigio drinker. For a brunch setting, this will go perfect with an array of light foods – such as seafood and chicken, a lot of crispy greens and vegetables. Keeping the options light and simple will bring out the hidden full bodied tones of the albariño. Since it is a refreshing tone, this wine is also great for outside lounging!
Vinyl & Vino rating: 4 out of 5
TOP FAVORITE TRACKS
The Mother We Share