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Burning CHVRCHES

Cover for "Gun," the new records first single (press photo)
Cover for “Gun,” the new record’s first single (Press photo)

It’s underdogs weeks away from the world tournament, training in the pink dawn. Or is it a psychic tenth grader realizing suddenly that she can move her old stuffed unicorn? Or is it 2083, when, under a sky of meteor showers, a junkie drives through Little Korea in a stolen neo-DeLorean, seeking revenge on the gangsters who assassinated her boyfriend?

The debut album of Scottish synthpop group CHVRCHES could be the soundtrack to any of these lost 80s movies. Lauren Mayberry’s clarifying voice braids through electronic arpeggio after arpeggio, through slow builds that shower into blue sparks.

The bones of what you believe is a flooring release that follows in the footsteps of Reagan generation revivalists Kavinsky and College,  moving the nostalgic sound into contemporary waters reminiscent of chilly trip-pop duo Purity Ring.

CHVRCHES may sound like a hipster wet-dream, but there is nothing other than sincerity in their sweeping choruses, undulating, primal repetitions, and themes of possession and progression.

Bones sets off with pounding, genuine feeling and does not relent. “Gun” is sharp-edged twinkle, eyeliner and empty shell casings. Second single “Recover” is a ritual incantation for absolution in Glaswegian fog. “Science/Visions” brings New Order to the church organs of a cybernetic future.

CHVRCHES does not break new ground, but they give their sugary genre a gift of perfectly realized, terribly catchy devotion. Bones will have you singing into your hairbrush. It will remind you of the intergalactic bubble-gum of Sailor Moon and the heart-felt narrative theme-songs of The Karate Kid. These are affirmations of power chanted to the bathroom mirror each morning.

Zoe Doucette
Zoe Doucette
Zoe was Assistant Arts Editor for the Gazette's 146th Volume.
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