Music Recommendation – Single – CHVRCHES, Dead Air

If the song is by CHVRCHES, then assume I will post about it. Dead Air will be part of the new Hunger Games soundtrack, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 aka Hunger Games: We’re Splitting This In Half For More Money. Unfortunately, the latter name was too long and honest for the movie industry.

So this is the second new CHVRCHES song in the last month (unless you include a couple recent covers the group did), the other song being on the new Drive re-score, Get Away. On that song, however, I harped on how disappointing the song starts out and my worries about the future of CHVRCHES music. Dead Air either kills those worries or gives me something to take my mind off of them for a while with an excellent combination of synth-pop and pure, unedited vocalization.

Normally I would complain that the effects and bassline makes the song feel a bit excessive, but that is the appeal of CHVRCHES music. However the echo on the hook makes turning up the volume a frequent occurrence. If the chorus was just a bit louder and not submerged in instrumentals and synthesizers, it could easily be the best song on the new Hunger Games soundtrack, which is notable for good synth hits (see Elastic Heart).

So overall I would rate the song at 9/10. The song seriously reminds me of a more low-key Recover, one of my all-time favorite CHVRCHES songs to date. You can go ahead and give the song a listen below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – CHVRCHES, Get Away

CHVRCHES is back, putting a song on the soundtrack for the upcoming film Drive. CHVRCHES fans, including myself, have been on the edge of their seats waiting for CHVRCHES to even vaguely whistle a new tune. It is unknown where this song will land in CHVRCHES discography, but it is very worth talking about.

I was kind of skeptical about the song when it began, as the beat almost sounds like “loo, ray-ray” over and over again. The vocals also sounded way too edited in the beginning. Overall I was pretty disappointed until the chorus at about a minute. I took a breath of relief as I remembered what the real CHVRCHES sounded like. After that the obnoxious beat and synth don’t really bother me, and in the second stanza both aspects seem to calm down a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the mixing capabilities of this group. Their mixing is as professional as a cement truck, but I was just taken a bit off-guard by the first minute. That is why I recommend listening to the song throughout to enjoy it fully.

Overall, I would give the song a 8.75/10. I think I’ve already said enough, so go ahead and give it a listen below:

-Austin Heath

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 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