Scotland's CHVRCHES have produced the electro-pop album of the year with The Bones of What You Believe
. From the get-go, this album aims for the gut with huge, emotional pop moments. "The Mother We Share" caught some flak for sounding a bit like The Knife (like that's a bad thing), but really it's more in title than sound; whereas The Knife sound alien and foreboding, singer Lauren Mayberry sounds all too human, her voice lost and searching amid blinking minor-key synthesizers. She sounds more confident on "We Sink"—"I'll be a thorn in your side till you die" she sings while Iain Cook and Martin Doherty produce an amiable industrial throb to launch her. It all comes together beautifully on "Gun," which builds a tower of singalong melodies, catchy synth lines and a soaring chorus for the album's most memorable moment. Even with that breathtaking opening, The Bones of What You Believe
keeps up the energy. "Tether" starts slow, sounding a bit like Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," making its all-out synth attack halfway through all the more effective; it shows the brains behind this band, which knows how and when to unleash. "Under the Tide" sees Mayberry take a backseat vocally to one of her male bandmates for a nice change of pace, and the band employs a nice call-and-response on tracks like the pulsating "Night Sky" and "By the Throat." They let you down gently with slow-motion closer "You Caught the Light," and by then, you're ready to hit that opening run of pop tracks again (provided you haven't hit repeat already a few dozen times). CHVRCHES' all-killer, no-filler debut album is meant to be hummed in the shower, sung in the car and shouted along to at arenas. It sticks to you like no other.