4. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
Too often we think of album titles as being devoid of meaning, and that practice has been reinforced by eons of bands plastering pleasantly evocative but ultimately meaningless phrases like “OK Computer” or “The Moon & Antarctica” or, hell, “Modern Vampires of the City” on album covers. The titular phrase of CHVRCHES’ triumphant debut record, The Bones of What You Believe, leaves a similar initial impression. But singer Lauren Mayberry slides into the lyric on bonus track “Strong Hands”: “Give me the bones of what you believe/ Maybe they’ll save you from me.” In the context of “Strong Hands”, the bones of what you believe become a chrysalis framework of the beliefs necessary to create self-reliance.
It’s an apt title for a debut record that earns every crescendo of its emotional ambitions. CHVRCHES spins together DNA from the silver screen synths of M83 and Passion Pit, from the ballistic bristling and frustrated fragility of countrymates like the Twilight Sad (with whom CHVRCHES shares a member) and Frightened Rabbit, from the riotous joy of Arcade Fire, from horror soundtracks and pop records in equal measure. In doing so, their album serves as those bones. It’s the necessary base from which the band builds emotional spearheads like “Recover”, “The Mother We Share”, and “Tether”.
The Bones of What You Believe is a record that finds resonance in exploring complexities and dichotomies. It’s big, thunderous music that doesn’t multi-track and reverb their singer’s powerful voice into a weapon, music that traffics in universal minutae– the little, intimate things that everyone remembers feeling. In making the enormous quantifiable and the minute important, CHVRCHES created a record that seems alive. It sits with you, sharing headphones, and helping you craft your own bones. –Chris Bosman