Normally, this is the time of year when Brian and I would do awesome music posts to share our very favorite albums. That’s not going to happen in 2013, hopefully it will return in 2014.
Still, I want to do something to share some of my favorite albums of the year, even if it is in less grandiose fashion than normal. I’ll just mention one a day, a few times a week, and share a music video for your enjoyment, in case you’re unfamiliar with the band.
It should come as no surprise that Chvrches makes it on the list, because even in a down year in activity here on Roused they’ve still gotten quite a bit of exposure starting back in May.
I really love when Electronic Pop or SynthPop is done well, but most of the time it isn’t done well at all. If I skip to a few local radio stations that aren’t KEXP when I am driving it doesn’t take long to hear that EPop and SynthPop are getting pretty popular right now, and that most of the popular iterations are cringeworthy.
That’s why I love Chvrches! They are everything that is right about the genre. They simultaneously lean forward into innovation and backward into a deep well of what has come before them. It isn’t hard to notice the influences of their 80’s and 90’s childhoods, for example, the band brought the house down here in Seattle with their encore cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” and they have also notably covered Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay.” It feels so natural when they perform these songs, because songs and artists like Prince and Whitney (among many others across genres) can be felt at the heart of Chvrches. Not in a way that makes them sound derivative or carbon copied, but instead in a way that feels like the inevitable descendants of the innovators of the past.
**Side note: I’ve heard a lot of people say that Chvrches just sounds like Purity Ring. This is almost understandable, but largely just proves those people aren’t listening very closely. To be honest, Purity Ring’s breakthrough 2012 album Shrines sounds a hell of a lot more like SBKTRKT’s 2011 self-titled album than anything from Chvrches resembles Purity Ring. Both bands are electronic and make you want to dance. Both bands have female lead singers. That seems to be all people need these days to announce something is derivative. I think maybe some folks just want one female led group in each genre to represent all of the female output artistically. Tokenism. Chvrches is much more than just a Purity Ring knockoff!**
The Bones of What You Believe is a celebration of the very best of pop music and electronic music, without being shackled or pinned in by the boundaries of either. They also manage to stay entirely accessible, and if they can get some on screen charisma to match their musical charisma, the world will be theirs for the taking.
P.S. – I think their music videos are pretty boring and uninteresting, but the music is worth checking out. If you haven’t heard Chvrches yet, watch the video just to experience the auditory goodness.
I totally understand how unlikely it is that folks buy music anymore, but I’ll be including Amazon links to the albums I mention. If you feel so inclined, support the band AND Roused to Mediocrity in one amazing swoop! If you’re interested, click the album cover below to buy this album for 3.99.