‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ (Virgin)
CHVRCHES’ unstoppable rise is one that simultaneously makes perfect and absolutely no sense. On one hand, the Scots deal in undeniably massive, accessible hooks – the kind that sit equally happily on Radio One, an eccied dance floor or on your mum’s car stereo. On the other, however, there’s literally nothing about ‘The Bones of What You Believe’ that sounds in any way new.
Save for, perhaps, The Naked and Famous (arguably a more sonically varied proposition), CHVRCHES sit in a space of their own in 2013. It’s easy to see why. ‘TBOWYB’ begins with ‘The Mother We Share’, singer Lauren Mayberry’s delicate vocal cooing over synth stabs and a sing-along, festival-friendly chorus. It’s catchy and it’s all very ‘nice’, but it falls sickeningly close to the Foster The People school of improbably big singles (read: a bit ‘blah’).
The rest of the record follows suit. ‘We Sink’ starts promisingly but never really does anything, ‘Recover’ follows the formula but with a higher-pitched vocal, whilst slowie ‘Tether’ is the only real diversion. It’s hard to be really horrible, because there’s nothing actively bad about CHVRCHES. But it is hard to care too much about something this safe.