By Ryan Stephens
The new wave movement of the 1980s heard its banshee’s cry in the early 1990s but the last decade gave it a well earned revival. Amongst the new wave revivalists, Chvrches presents an exciting case for more modern new wave or synthpop. The Bones of What You Believe, their debut album, brings forth one of the most finely tuned performance in years, especially when it comes to synthpop. The Glasgow based artists nailed some of the finer points of 1980s pop while combining some newer pop.
Unlike much of their contemporaries, Chvrches keeps their songs constrained as possible but exercising a flamboyant production value. The songs maximize on the little time they hold, much like the pop that dominates the radio waves. However, Chvrches also profits on songwriting that refuses to be as one-dimensional. Touching upon simple yet elegant concepts, the lyrics rarely dabbles in some of the type of lyrical simplicity that most mainstream pop settles in. Songs like “The Mother We Share” and “Tether” deal with love in a manner very similar to Icona Pop’s “I Love It”. They all deconstruct the mainstream perception of love in a bitter and sardonic way by giving it up or completely detesting it. That alone separates their debut from the pop they try to emulate.
However, faults do exist within The Bones of What You Believe. Despite all the praise directed toward the lyrics, they border on tripe. The simplicity of the satire sometimes fall short of achieving their goal and end up sounding weak. Not only that, but the songs fall into repetitive territory and end up sounding like the pop songs they try to emulate to their detriment. Sometimes Chvrches try to play it smart and end up failing hard. Most fans of synthpop should be able to look past these faults as an unfortunate consequence of the genre.
Ultimately, this debut album promises many good things from Chvrches in the future. It promises an exciting new look on synthpop and the new wave revival. Of course, problems do exist but end up having a minimal effect on a listen. Overall, Chvrches makes a strong case with The Bones of What You Believe.