Album Review – CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe

CHVRCHES released their debut album slightly over a year ago, and the Scottish band left their mark on the music industry. Unfortunately, they are not very widely known in the United States. A British friend of mine and fellow administrator on Brickimedia.org introduced me to the album, and though I am usually skeptical on listening to whole albums at a time, I was glad I did not skip over this one.

The Bones of What You Believe is probably one of the most well-rounded albums in current pop. There are so many albums with huge singles while the rest of the tracks feature little effort or passion. CHVRCHES really showed off their musical talent in this LP and I have listened to it several times over to confirm that. The Bones of What You Believe had a long build-up but seems to be worth the wait to me, with its sound reminding me of early 2000’s hits.

I want to go through each song briefly and rate them, so here we go:

0:00 – The Mother We Share – The start of the album, The Mother We Share gives us a good idea of the sound we will experience in the album. It was also their first single, released back in late 2012. Song is confusing lyrically but catchy and sounds excellent. This is one of my favorites on the album. 9.5/10

3:12 – We Sink – This was the final single, added after the album would dropped (months later) for FIFA 14. I like the utilization of all vocals instead of simply Lauren Mayberry, though the bridge is way too edited and robotic. Sadly the bridge is just disastrous to me. Not the best way to end the releases for this excellent album. 7/10

6:46 – Gun – Gun was the third single and, despite feeling a little rushed at parts, is a good song. Catchy phrases and nice lyricism, band all-together sounds excellent. 9/10

10:40 – Tether – Tether is the first non-single song on the album, but does not disappoint. Electric Guitar is utilized and Lauren Mayberry’s vocals are smooth as they echo throughout the song. Seriously though, this one features a lot of echoing. The hook features a successful build-up and the song is a decent length at almost five minutes. It rises as you get further through and keeps the listener’s attention as it drops again at the [repetitive] bridge, then picks up with a huge hysteria of instruments and autotune. Psychologically it makes for a good song, and is very entertaining throughout. 9.5/10

15:27 – Lies – Single #4 would be Lies, released after the original album came out. It is super catchy and I love singing it. Despite more rushed transitions between sentences and a beat that gets a little old after the first verse, the song is very fun to listen to and has a higher pace than the previous songs. 8.75/10

19:08 – Under The Tide – Under The Tide actually excludes Lauren Mayberry’s vocals for the most part, but the group pulls off the sound quite well. Though the sound gets a bit boring after a bit, the track is still impressive. Despite different singer, the song retains the same sound or the band that you come to enjoy at around this point of the album. Unfortunately my only complaint is that the hook is a little bland and repetitive. 8.5/10

23:40 – Recover – This is most likely my favorite song on the album. Recover was single #2 from the band and, though chaotic, is a very good song with excellent lyrics and a great sound. Not much to say but good about this one. 9.75/10

27:26 – Night Sky – Another one of my favorites, Night Sky really brings out the talent of all the vocalists on the team. The song has a solid hook and calm bridge that, though is out of pace with the track a bit, does not last too long. 9/10

31:16 – Science/Visions – Not so sure about the name, but more spaced-out echo-y Lauren Mayberry is common in Science/Visions. The hook is interesting, I can’t say I hate it but I feels like an experiment to see how listeners respond to the muffled sound. 8/10

35:15 – Lungs – Sounds similar to Gun, first couple of seconds are a little odd but the flow of the vocals are consistent. The beat-drop is pretty intense for about ten seconds, but I like it. Not a song I would get excited about, but still a good song. 8.75/10

38:18 – By The Throat – I really like the hook to By The Hook, sound is similar and gets a bit boring at this point of the album but the track definitely keeps up with keeping your attention with rises and falls and more rises. It ends quite nicely to me, definitely one of the nicer songs on the album. 9.5/10

42:27 – You Caught The Light – On to the last one, which slows down even more than the slower songs on the LP. You Caught The Light caps the album smoothly with little vocals and shows off the bands instrumental skills. Not much Lauren Mayberry, but the song still says goodbye in the CHVRCES style, but reminds me seriously of Coldplay. Melodic and calming before we finish up. Placed well in the album for sure. 9.5/10

So overall, that averages out to approximately 9/10. Solid, well-rounded album, just a little skeptical on how edited some of the verses are. I definitely recommend a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – DJ Khaled ft. Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole and Ne-Yo, Legendary

Legendary is now over three years old, claiming a spot in DJ Khaled’s We The Best Forever album. I have to admit I don’t think I’ve heard a better song by DJ Khaled since this one, and I doubt I ever will. The song is quite remarkable in how incredible all three singers’ voices sound and the collaboration of Brown, Cole AND Ne-Yo on one song, but there is something I want to establish that makes this song stand out from many others.

Normally I would wait to post this until Friday with some of my favorites, but I want to save the more popular hits for that, as this song somehow has very few listens. What people are missing here is a serious hook, solid hard-working production, amazing vocals and a rise at Ne-Yo’s part that is normally hard to achieve without ruining the song. It always surprised me that this song never went big or even gained much popularity.

Unfortunately, it has been more than three years and this song won’t get anymore popular than it already is. However the meaning is quite inspirational and shows a beautiful side of RnB music that I wish we could see more. The lyricism that this song portrays should definitely be spread. Sadly, the words from Legendary are just not what’s in demand anymore. The lyrics are courageous and stand out, explaining how to be legendary without having to be rich and doing drugs and having sex. People don’t want to relate to it. It is such a shame that we rarely hear voices like these singing tracks like this.

In the end, I can not find a single thing wrong with this song. Even DJ Khaled gives some advice at the end, which he absolutely deserves to add as he put major work into the song. Edited vocals are not overdone and quality is very high.

Due to the amazing qualities of the lyrics while still pertaining to RnB sound and a creative but not abrasive beat that keeps up with the rise of the song, I have to put this song in a special category and give it a 10/10. This is absolutely a Top-Rated song in my books. Please give it a listen here:

-Austin Heath

Artist Recommendation – PelleK

Metal has never been a genre that I’ve given many listens. In fact, before I listened to PelleK, I never considered listening to Metal at all. Some artists are just so incredible that they give you reason to have an open mind. The music from PelleK is truly worth mentioning.

PelleK began singing four years ago with his group of fellow Norwegians, and working with the band named after himself, remixed several covers of popular songs, ranging from pop hits to cartoon and anime themes. He began putting a spin on these songs and giving them a taste of Metal. Despite being able to go on tour and perform live, Per Fredrick Åsly chose to continue his YouTube success, granting him over 300,000 subscribers and a little north of 30,000,000 views. I can attest that his covers are incredible, his voice is superb and the art of metalizing popular music is quite awesome.

PelleK has quite the voice, and his Metal creations include both power ballads with soft Metal and hardcore Metal. I’ve always preferred softer Metal, that is just my own opinion. He pulls off both quite well though, and below I will be leaving my favorite covers by him. They are all great, but my absolute favorites are the Kiss From A Rose cover (this one might even go in the all-timers soon) and his video featuring EVERY Pokémon theme song.

Overall, I would have to rate PelleK and his group at 9.25/10. Again, this is hard because I am not a huge Metal fan, and if I do listen to Metal I tend to stick to a much less intense sound. However, this group and their singer have some serious talent and I would love to hear some power ballads and fast tracks created and written by them. I seriously recommend a listen:

And just released today:

And for more check out his personal YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/pellekofficial/featured

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Zeds Dead ft. Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy, Lost You

Dance/EDM usually isn’t high on my “To-Write” list (yes, I do have a list clogged with songs still that spans pages) but this song really stuck out. Found it on Twitter after seeing it recommended by a radio host, a group of listeners who tend to find good music before the general crowd. I had to give it a listen, which I do not regret.

I have never been familiar with any of these artists, but together they make an incredible collaboration. Despite being more focused on the Electronic aspect of the track, the vocals are quite a nice touch and make the song a good radio play. The bridge at around the 2-minute mark is quite remarkable, and the sound overall is very pleasant and enjoyable.

Overall I would rate the song a 8.75/10. Awesome track and plenty of good things to say about it, but ultimately not everyone will love it and it can get a bit repetitive at times. Go ahead and listen below, you can watch as well, but the video is slightly very bizarre:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – DJ Mustard ft. Tinashe, Checks In (Extended Version)

So Check In was bothering me because the beat was way too familiar, but I couldn’t place from what track. Then it hit me, and in fact I already wrote about it in my review of Eric Bellinger ft. The Game: Awkward. Last time I checked these were not produced by the same person, but seems like it hasn’t caused any trouble so far. However, if it does let me just say that I noticed first.

Onto the song. It’s damn good. I’m a sucker for Tinashe though (see all my tweets about/at her) and I also tend to lean towards songs produced by DJ Mustard (then again, who doesn’t?). This song was originally an interlude on Mustard’s album 10 Summers, but Tinashe gifted us with the extended studio recording.

The song is excellent and features one of my favorite beats (which I praised in my Awkward review). I love Tinashe’s sound on the track as well. Hard to get the message from this one though, sounds like she’s upset about a guy choosing another girl over her I believe. Regardless, I still love the song.

Overall, I give it a 9.5/10. I seriously recommend a listen, but I will not guarantee that it will be a hit to every listener. Edited vocals and sound can ruin small parts of the song and the hook leaves a little to be desired, but in the end the song is near-perfect. Listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Boyz II Men, Losing Sleep

Remember how I said in my first song recommendation that Boyz II Men had returned? Read here if you don’t: https://austinsmusicpicks.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/music-recommendation-single-jagged-edge-ready/ Well I wasn’t lying. They are back and getting ready to release their new album Collide next month.

Losing Sleep is a ballad to a girl who is keeping him (or them?) awake and they can’t sleep without dreaming about her. Unfortunately, they are “so tired.” Insomnia is no joke, but sleep is their enemy here. Despite this the track is quite incredible and very smooth, as Boyz II Men usually are. After their tour last year, it would seem they received plenty of good inspiration to release yet another amazing song.

Overall, I give it a 9.5/10. Song starts out slow but picks up the pace and ends up being a great listen. Not many listens surprisingly, so go ahead, add a view and enjoy the music below:

-Austin Heath

EDIT: I should also add my all-time favorite Boyz II Men song. Not what you’d expect either (Yes, I love Psych):

Music Recommendation – Single – Lorde, Yellow Flicker

17-year old star Lorde is back, this time adding her music to the soundtrack for the upcoming Hunger Games installment. The song has the usual Lorde-esque sound that many people loved in Royals and Team, and that I loved in Tennis Court.

Lorde uses similar techniques from older songs in Yellow Flicker but the reception is still pretty content. Despite being only just released today, the video on Lorde’s VEVO YouTube channel has over 100,000 views and plenty of thumbs up. I have to agree with the general consensus, though the first 50 seconds are not too pleasing. The song really takes shape on the first hook and it becomes a great track that I am sure will be a hit relatively soon.

If you haven’t heard it already, hear it here first below. My rating is 9/10, per my feedback above. If you don’t like Lorde’s other songs then chances are this won’t sway you either. However I find each song by her getting better and better. Give it a listen:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Slim Thug and Paul Wall ft. Tory Lanez, Celebration

Remember The Game’s Celebration hit? Well this is that but different. I actually really like this freestyle/remix of it, featuring all Houston-based artists. Still doesn’t beat The Game’s song though.

The updated version brings the usual lyrics, pertaining to drugs and alcohol and sex, but challenges the original Celebration for good listening. Overall I would rate it 7.25/10, the rap verses aren’t always amazing but they are consistent and the hook is very enjoyable. I say give it a listen, but feel free to skip if need be:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Summer Set ft. Dia Frampton, Heart On The Floor

The Summer Set are a [boy] band popular for their appearances at Vans Warped Tour. However a couple of their songs are very underrated. Heart On The Floor, featuring singer Dia Frampton, is absolutely one of them.

I have heard complaints of the group’s sound, and I have agreed at times that the voice of the band can be a little…girlish. However this song fixes that and this song has a lot of character. I love that it tells a story and features vocals from a man and a woman. Heart On The Floor is one of the most underappreciated tracks on their album Legendary, or from the group’s history.

Overall, I give the song a 8.75/10. Sometimes the song gets a little chaotic and repetitive, but I still really enjoy it. I recommend a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Hear It First – Fergie, L.A. Love (La La)

Let me just say that I’m not very fond of the song, so you can skip over this post if you’d like. However I know there are some big Fergie fans out there. I’m sure this will probably end up being a big hit within the next few days (or sooner, already has over 45,000 listens) but might as well add it before that happens.

So to anyone who has been waiting, enjoy Fergie’s first solo song since 2006, just released last night:

-Austin Heath

P.S. And I won’t make you download Spotify! Seriously, I did not want to have to search for an alternate way to listen to this.