Synth pop with a modern indie twist

Chvrches ability to combine modern indie pop and electronica to revive the rhythms of the synthesizer pop of the ’80s give them a distinguished, unique sound compared to other modern indie pop bands.

Luis Sy, Staff Writer

With its electronic symphonies and lyrical depth, the Scottish synth pop band Chvrches’ debut album The Bones of What You Believe combines the best of ’80s synth pop and modern indie pop. The band’s electronic-pop melodies and mask the songs’ cynically profound lyrics.

The nostalgic heavy synthesizer rhythms complement the uniquely weightless voice of lead singer Lauren Mayberry perfectly, giving the band’s overall sound undertones reminiscent of ’80s hits such as “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds and “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League, with a hint of modern electronic indie dance music.

Keyboardists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty combine their dynamic synth pop tunes with the gentle tones of Mayberry’s voice to create a new sound in the modern indie genre. Their songs were then mixed by Rick Costey (Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine), giving the album a defined, crisp sound usually found in much older more experienced electronic bands.

The band’s main hits — “The Mother We Share,” “Lies,” and “Recover” — showcase the best of Mayberry’s voice, and reveal her ability to convey emotion through her lyrics. The songs feature emotionally gloomy lyrics, contrasted by an incredibly uplifting electronic beat. In “The Mother We Share,” Mayberry begins the chorus by singing “I’m in misery, but you can’t see.” However, the cheery synthesizer beats and echoing drum machine make the song’s sound more uplifting than it really is.

Similarly, the gloomy lyrics “who are you to tell me how, to keep myself afloat” in the song “Gun” mixes in perfectly with the fast paced tempo of the electronic beats in the song, giving it an almost euphoric sense of rhythm.

However, the album also features slower songs with an emphasis on the quieter lyrics in pieces like “Tether” and “You Caught the Light.” These slower songs are sung mostly by Cook and Doherty, who have lower pitched voices than Mayberry. These songs reveal the band’s dynamic range not only in the pitch and sound of their songs, but in the emotions behind the songs as well.

Chvrches ability to combine modern indie pop and electronica to revive the rhythms of the synthesizer pop of the ’80s give them a distinguished, unique sound compared to other modern indie pop bands. The harmony by which Chvrches mixes their uplifting beats with the cynical themes of their lyrics makes the bands debut album one of the best this year, peaking at number twelve on Billboard’s Top 200.