User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 123 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 123

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  1. Sep 26, 2013
    This is really one of the most accessible albums I've heard this year. You really can't fault well-crafted pop albums for sticking to the genre; I find it a complete buzzkill to speculate on the possible future when they've released one album. Every song on this is a pretty perfectly crafted pop song, in the best sense.
  2. Sep 24, 2013
    Crystal clear vocals, flawless production and a sound which is both familiar and fresh this is a band who puts their best foot forward. "Take no chances" Lauren sings on 'Tether', and to some degree they take their own advice. This might not have been the adventurous debut many had anticipated, but they do what they do best, which is upbeat, likeable electronic pop. This is a strong showing, but I fear in coming years it will not be too memorable. Expand
  3. Sep 25, 2013
    This is shiny, it's fun, and it's an okay album. Yet, there are a myriad of flaws. The songwriting, though often interesting, is lacking. Chvrches seems to be focusing on the sound, but the mood never varies much, and there is quite a bit of sameness. The lyrics here are passable, but suffer from being juvenile and overly simplistic. There are some gorgeous arrangements, and the production here is very lush and tactful. A lot of these songs would work very well on their own, but this, as an album, is a little less than the sum of the parts.

    A solid debut, but far from perfect.
  4. Sep 29, 2013
    The entire album seems to be influenced by the sound of 80s pop, which is a great thing. I just wished that the rest of the tracks are as fantastic as Gun, undeniably the best one on the album, and one of the best that i listened to in quite some time. Really breathtaking. Also, The Mother We Share, We Sink and By The Throat are great tracks.
  5. Aug 13, 2014
    The Bones of What You Believe is as synth pop a record as your ever going to find and is close to the front of the pack when it comes to the recent revival in that genre. The album is consistently good but I would say it lacks real standout tracks. The production of the record can at times amaze but just as frequently overwhelms the source material. There are points where you are just getting sonically attacked from all angles and the song gets lost underneath. The band could also have trimmed the record by 2 or 3 songs. Essentially what you have is pure pop but this is a record well worth getting hold of and giving adequate time to. Expand
  6. Nov 3, 2013
    The singles that circulated blogs everywhere, “Lies”, “Gun”, “Recover” and “The Mother We Share” represent a lot of what Chvrches has to offer. The synth parts are very well-arranged, whether they're used as punchy staccato chord riffs or vocal splicing to make some catchy hooks (mainly found in those singles) or as something to overlay a song to effectively set a mood, most notably in deep cuts like “Tether”, “Under the Tide” & “Science/Visions”. (“Science/Visions” in particular is worth singling out because of its synth line that to me almost sounds like something out of an old racing video game.) It's a near-perfect stylistic fit for Lauren Mayberry's light, airy & sweet voice, which can at times seamlessly blend into the instrumentation. It's made more interesting by contrasting with the bitter & emotionally negative lyrics found in a good majority of the album. There are also 2 songs sung by one of the 2 male members of the group, Martin Doherty (“Under the Tide” & “You Caught the Light”) that close each “side” of the album in a way that I imagine would add a lot if you're listening to it on vinyl. Most people cite the songs sung by Doherty as the album's weak points, but I have to disagree with that. Does his voice work as perfectly with the music as Mayberry's? Not quite. But he's got a good voice, the songs to me are just as well-written as the rest of the album (though easily 2 of its slower moments along with “Tether”), and it adds a bit of variety just when you're about to worry that the songs will start to bleed together. There are also tracks like “Night Sky” and “Science/Visions”, which are practically duets between the 2 vocalists (even if Mayberry is definitely more present). I'm curious to see what it'd be like if they explored that dynamic a bit more in the future.

    Any real issue I have with the album is in the lyrics. Not that they're necessarily bad by any means, but more that they tend to get monotonous from track to track. It seems like every song here is talking about the end of a relationship, an oft-covered but perfectly valid area to write about. My gripe in this department is that rather than tackling a lot of different emotions & stages of the breakup throughout, making each song fresh & worthwhile, it all bleeds together by staying in the same place, expressing the same ideas for most of the album & subsequent becoming a tired & stale theme by the end of the full listen. Sure there are exceptions, like the sibling-related symbolism in “The Mother We Share”, the engagingly conflicting emotions in “Tether” or the more uplifting message in “Under the Tide”, but by the time I finished the full listen while reading along with the lyrics, I was left a bit tired & annoyed. It's fine to have that bitter emotion on a few tracks or even half of an album, but when it covers practically the whole thing it can get insufferable and a bit whiny.

    But as much of an overarching issue as this is, at the end of the day it's a relatively minor one, especially if you just put these songs in shuffle instead of listening all the way through. It's still a pretty impressive debut album by a very promising up & coming band.

    Top 5 tracks: The Mother We Share, Gun, Night Sky, Science/Visions, Tether
    Score: 80/100
  7. Sep 26, 2013
    Hands down album of the year, an absolute blast from start to finish, Lauren Mayberry's vocals are absolutely perfect and the instrumentation supports it to a tee. My only real problem with the album is that they play it safe for certain, but I can let that go due to the fact that it's their first album and I'm sure there is experimentation left to come.
  8. Feb 4, 2014
    It's mock 80's synthpop. For everyone else, even hinting at the aforementioned while recommending it to a friend is enough to make up their decision to avoid it at all costs. Especially after mentioning their name: CHVRCHES, spelled with the Roman numeral "v" in order to make internet searches more convenient -- and because it sounded "cool". But don't throw hipster accusations just yet until you've heard one, two, or maybe even fourteen of their tunes, because for once in a long, long while (since Robyn's 2010 Body Talk or even Lady Gaga's Born This Way perhaps), we've received an electronic pop record that's filler-less, despite primarily using the same synthesizer in every track. Each deliver their own unique sound that evokes electronic euphoria through the ears of anyone who craves it, it's addictive. Lauren Mayberry's light vocals are crafted by Iain Cook and Martin Doherty's memorable, stunning synths that makes melancholy pop Katy Perry or Lady Gaga wish they could have created themselves. That's actually where Bones of What You Believe succeeds: it's unusually well-balanced. The lead single, "The Mother We Share", might be disguised in indie flavored electronica, but the stuttering hook ("Go-oo-oa-oh") suggests it's just your typical top 40 breakthrough that just happens to be smarter than the thirty-nine others. "Lies" has an Ellie Goulding-meets-Florence + the Machine verse that transitions into a musically melodramatic chorus that'll have you singing before you even know the words. Even one of the members get a starring role, taking over lead vocals in "Under the Tide". "Guns" and "Recover" are melodic masterpieces as well, contradicting themselves with their positive vibe, yet Crystal Castles-esque melodrama. As said, do not underestimate an album just because it's in another decade, as long as it emulates that era marvelously. Expand
  9. Oct 15, 2013
    Very catchy electropop. If you look at it like that then you will enjoy this album quite a bit. The album has several standout tracks that are instantly memorable. Admittedly, the slower songs (1 or 2 of them) on this album are quite forgettable although that doesn't ruin the experience.
  10. Sep 26, 2013
    About the most fun an album can be one of the critics on the right said that even the most jaded people would enjoy it, and I completely agree with that statement. It was preceded by a few really good singles as well, so the band obviously had potential, and it's good to see that can put together an entire album of solid songs. That being said, this music will get old unless they start to get somewhat experimental on their next few albums, and ideally they won't submit to pop and digress into simple, brain numbing synths. Expand
  11. Mar 18, 2014
    The Bones of What You Believe, the debut album from Scottish pop trio CHVRCHES, is inarguably synth pop at its finest. Draped in coruscating, swooping, staccato synths, CHVRCHES have created a beautiful album that captures a full spectrum of emotions in a genre that is often associated with carefree revel – all the while without sounding the least disjointed. Dynamic and exhilarating, the album explodes with unprecedented energy; the instrumentals are exquisitely delicate, and the syncopated percussions kick without screaming. With Mayberry’s youthful voice and the album’s brilliantly spunky sound, CHVRCHES have established an instantly recognizable aura. The Bones of What You Believe feels like it’s pushing boundaries without actually doing so, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Simply put, CHVRCHES have parted the crowd of strong debut performances in 2013 with this glistening, invigorating, and instantly lovable album.

    FINAL SCORE: 95 (almost perfect ----------o---------- perfect)
  12. Nov 18, 2013
    I have been waiting for over two years for this album to come out, and I could not have been any more pleased. Every track on here is an emotional roller coaster, and is just fun to listen to. It's easy in synth for some songs to sound the same, but Chvrches do a good job of making a varied record. I love it and I recommend it to everybody. I can not wait for their next record to be released.
  13. Sep 11, 2014
    Mixing strange and machine-like instruments and arrangements and Mayberry's sweet and charming voice can appear to be a bit contradictory and/or incompatible, but the result is quite the opposite: a cohesive and enjoyable set of songs that shares messages and meanings at different levels, perceptions and forms, yet maintaining a synthpop atmosphere, a blissful happiness and a good swing from start to end. Expand
  14. Nov 25, 2013
    This is chvrches' repetitive electronic "song" has been an an advertisement at the beginning of youtube videos for months and then it was on the radio and I cant stand for this bull****. The singer girl does have a great voice and its sad she spends her talent singing with guys pressing synth buttons.
  15. Jul 4, 2014
    A bit late to the party with this review but **** it. I've listened to the 'like a version' cover of "Do i wanna know" by the Artic Monkeys. AMAZING, she can sing and this band can make some absolutely amazing music BUT this album just outright sucks ass. Nobody in this band can write lyrics if their life depended on it. Some examples; We Sink - [Chorus x2] I'll be a thorn in your side till you die
    I'll be a thorn in your side for always
    If we sink, we lift our love

    **** doesn't rhyme and I don't believe there is an artist on the planet that could make these lyrics work. Reading the lyrics of Night Sky is just as bad

    I can hear you in the overtones
    Just an echo of the promise we made
    Change the future, we can travel time
    Or make us blind so we can never look back

    NOTHING ****ING RHYMES. It's not like la dispute where the lyrics may not rhyme but the execution and story telling don't just make up for it, they make you feel what the artist feels.

    I think chvrches can make some amazing music and i'm definately looking forward for future releases but this release was just an outright disappointment.
  16. May 4, 2014
    This album is extremely likable, a beautiful voice and wondrous instrumentals that will get stuck in your head, but don't worry, the songs are so good they can be played over and over again that you still won't get sick of them.
  17. Oct 26, 2014
    This album is great. The perfect blend of the pop, electronic, and synth music genre. You can tell the band was influenced by some 80s music by the sound of some songs. The band sounds just as good live as they do on the album. A must have in my opinion. Science/Visions is my personal fave

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Dec 17, 2013
    The Bones of What You Believe loses steam quickly, leaving nothing new that approaches the promise of the group’s early releases.
  2. Nov 21, 2013
    The Scottish trio aren't trying to subvert anything on debut long-player The Bones of What You Believe, churning out hard-driving and utterly undeniable electro-pop, and the hooks arrive absolutely relentless.
  3. Oct 11, 2013
    All told it's a captivating listen that's proudly individualistic, heart-warmingly intelligent and beautifully intonated. [Nov 2013, p.102]