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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Bones Of What You Believe

CHVRCHES

2013

Buy At Rough Trade
The Bones Of What You Believe
Album Summary

The Bones of What You Believe is the debut studio album by Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches, released on 20 September 2013 by Virgin Records and Goodbye Records. Recorded between 2011 and 2013 in Glasgow, the album was written, composed, and produced by the band as a collaborative effort. The album was debuted with a launch party broadcast live on music streaming platform Boiler Room. The album's title derives from a lyric in the song "Strong Hand"; according to frontwoman Lauren Mayberry, it refers to the raw "creativity and effort" that served as the figurative and literal skeleton for the album. Musically, The Bones of What You Believe is primarily a synth-pop and indie pop album that incorporates 1980s influences. The Bones of What You Believe received critical acclaim, with many complimenting Mayberry's songwriting and vocal performance, and Iain Cook and Martin Doherty's use of synthesisers and vocal loops. The album spawned seven singles: "The Mother We Share", "Recover", "Gun", "Lies", "We Sink", "Under the Tide" and "Tether", with the lead single becoming a moderate commercial success, charting in the top 10 in Belgium and Japan, as well as the top 40 in the United Kingdom. It also peaked at number 12 on the Alternative Songs chart in the United States.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.23

Votes

9151
Genres
Electronica
Pop

Reviews

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Tue Apr 18 2023
4

I was honestly shocked to see CHVRCHΞS (people always remember the "vee" but not the "equivalent to") on here but they definitely belong. This is not my favorite album of theirs but maybe since it was their debut album it makes sense for this list. This is not normally the kind of music that appeals to me, but this album is fantastic. Maybe it's the 80s feel, or the clever (without being eye-roll-y) lyrics, or the lead singer's sheer charisma. Whatever it is, it's a great listen. 4.5 stars.

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Sat May 13 2023
5

This made me feel so real, so big, and so alive. It made me want to run barefoot across a dewy field with all my energy until I get tired. It made me want to conquer the sky. It made me want to aggressively put positive energy in myself while commuting.

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Fri Apr 21 2023
5

I added this album to my collection a few years ago based on the song Science/Visions that played at the end of a podcast episode I had listened to. The rest of the album does not disappoint. Chvrches takes synth-pop to epic stadium levels and I love the lead singer and the construction of the songs. Great!

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Sun Apr 23 2023
5

This is an album I knew a lot of songs from already, thanks to the copious airtime this received when it came out. I think at the time I got a bit bored of just how much it was played, but it's been nearly 10 years now so I can appreciate this again, as well as acquire a palate that really enjoys indie electronica. With all that being said, I loved this album. Sitting down and hearing this properly, I thought it was excellent. The lyricism was wonderful and Mayberry has such an energy and charisma to her vocals. Overall it's absolutely dripping with 80s Synth-Pop flair, but it still manages to stay varied enough to not grow stale by the end of the 67-minute long record. Really tempted to get this on vinyl... I took early 2010s pop and electronica for granted - this is so much better than any of the endless TikTok crap that Radio 1 plays these days... Favourite: Recover

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Wed Jun 07 2023
4

4.1 + If someone were to stop me randomly on the street and ask, "What's an album that Pitchfork would've called 'Best New Music' in the 2010's?", this might be the first record that comes to mind. Such a perfect encapsulation of a certain "Pitchfork-core" sound of that era - breezy electro-pop with plenty of 1980's synth throwbacks. Standouts: "Under the Tide", "Recover."

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Mon Jul 03 2023
2

The pretentious spelling of the band's name immediately pisses me off. See runtime is over an hour, crack my knuckles. Two points knocked off and the music hasn't even begun. The music isn't terrible, and at its best sounds a little like Robyn, just without the magic. Synths are usually urgent, the songs have velocity and the album is dynamic both within the tracks and their sequencing. Were this half its length, I could call this consistent, but as it is over an hour it is samey. My ear lobes were curling up with boredom by the halfway mark. 2.

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Sun May 14 2023
5

I've been listening to Chvrches on shuffle for so long that I forgot which songs were on which albums. I've always liked them ever since I first heard them, and seeing them live was amazing. It's also really cool that they have an album on this list now. This album came out in 2013 and it cannot be overstated how fucking abysmal mainstream pop/rock was at this time. Every single song sounded the same with a buildup to a drop and a chorus that was just a bunch of mmms and ohs. Calvin harris type bullshit was taking over. Chvrches does buildups and drops on here but they are so natural and produced so well. Everything has a deep sound to it. The vocals are unique too in the sense that there are regular male and female singing vocals but also a ton of mouth sounds mixed into the song itself, it's pretty insane how much of each song is just singing digitized and harmonized. It's cool and gives them their iconic sound. Science/visions is their best song and it slaps hard as hell. Very unique sound and structure to it. Their 2nd album is just as good. Score: 90 Art: 80

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Mon Jun 05 2023
5

Now this is the type of synth pop that absolutely tickles me. This had me jamming the whole time. I'll definitely be diving into their discography!

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Wed Jun 21 2023
5

The Chvrches magic remains just as potent as ever, something evading attempts to summarize. I didn't expect weeping this time but did, for the time, for the intervening decade, for being picked up in each and every song by some element. I cases, the saving moment arrives late, and the enduring consistency is even confusing. Irreplicable; irreplaceable.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
4

Somewhere in my shoegazey, guitar-driven hard-rock heart I have a big soft spot for indie electronica, and I’m pretty sure it’s this album that started me down that path. When this LP dropped in 2014, it was the first melody-driven, well-executed electronic music I’d heard that didn’t revolve around massive drops or progressive builds. Mayberry’s featherlight yet strong vocals on top of some great synth choices and big, booming rhythms is a great play of light against heavy, light against dark. The use of space is exceptional - not a single track goes by without feeling huge and anthemic due to the airtight production and heavy use of reverb, but the group still manages to make tracks feel small and intimate (‘Gun’ is a great example of this). To this day the album feels fresh, alive, and new thanks to the strong songwriting and use of texture that makes every line, beat, and word resonate hugely in a wall of vibrant sound. It’s unfortunate that the band hasn’t been able to innovate their sound with much success in the following decade, but with an opening statement this strong, unique, and fully-formed, I have no problem if the group continues to stay in their lane and make excellent indietronica.

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Fri Jun 30 2023
2

i remember these being all the rage when they were out but i never got involved. It sounds like some sort of Taylor Swift prototype, a precursor of the misery to come.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
2

Perfectly serviceable, perfectly dull synth pop with a retro edge to it. Perhaps I'm getting a little too long in tooth and jaw, but the wide-eyed sweetness of the vocals and the video game crispness of the music fail to charm. Where's the human, beating heart to this whole endeavour?

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Thu Aug 10 2023
2

Quite a painful listen after artists like Michael Jackson and Fleetwood Mac. The chord progressions were simplistic, there was no harmony, just bland synths and lyrics. This nearly fell into a 1 but I did like the Scottish accents coming through, and one of the songs was Ok (can’t remember which one). Overall this made me really question the list. This just feels like such an arbitrary choice, probably added shortly after it came out. I’d say at least 10 years should pass before an album can be considered for the list, looking back on this album now you can see it for what it is, soulless synth pop, or as the Scots say “a load a’ shite”.

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Fri Aug 04 2023
5

An excellent album. It came out when so many bands were doing the retro-synth thing, and for most it was just an affectation. On this album CHVRCHES built songs that would stand out regardless of the instrumentation.

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Fri Sep 08 2023
5

I actually loved this album - it just makes you feel alive and it's so full of energy. Great, unique, pseudo-futuristic sound. 9/10.

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Thu Oct 12 2023
5

Album #42 If you like synth-pop, you should love this album. If you don't like synth-pop....what's wrong with you?!? CHVRCHES have been on my radar for about 10 years and I just hadn't gotten around to listening to anything other than an occasional single. After listening to this album, I'm planning on going through their discography. This was the kind of music that I felt all throughout myself and I didn't want it to end. 5*

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

Lauren Mayberry has such a cute posh Scottish accent. This album is definitely a modern classic in both Scottish music and synth pop.

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Sun Oct 29 2023
5

Good album I enjoy the chvrches style of music. I'd heard the song The Mother We Share before and already loved it so I enjoyed hearing the rest of the songs from the same album.

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Mon Sep 25 2023
4

Vsvally, synth-pop albvms don't do mvch for me becavse of the pavcity of uariety. The bvbblgvm chorvses are not vnlike the vnceasing hvm in the backgrovnd of Christopher Nolan's Dvnkirk, except that I'm qvite svre he was actvally trying to make his avdience vncomfortable. Howeuer, this albvm was a departvre from the rvle. Best track: Recouer

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Mon May 22 2023
3

This must have been influential on Jack Antonoff’s synth heavy production style making it therefore influential on Taylor Swift, Lorde, and others. The actual album was fine though no track truly stood out to me.

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Mon May 15 2023
2

This shit spiked in popularity about 10-15 years ago in "big indie" circles. Very beige, very predictable, catchy without huge hooks. Would suit one of those triple j festivals where bands from 500 different genres (not metal) tell the crowd they have a "great vibe" - groovin' the moo, byron bluesfest, falls, etc. Would ruin my acid trip for sure. I was gonna give it a 3/5 because it isn't *that* bad, just not my thing. But oh Christ, this shit only has one setting and it SUCKS. Every song sounds identical, none of it remotely interesting. Still 3 songs to go and time has slowed to a crawl. Update: it got no better. After writing this, I googled "chvrches falls festival" just to see, and they're playing it this year. First result. ha ha, fucking picked it. Fuck off and die, hipster shit. 2/5.

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Sun Nov 05 2023
1

I feel it's unfair for me to rate this. It's absolutely not the type of music I like listening to. I really hated having to listen to this.

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Wed Nov 08 2023
1

Not sure if I don't like Indie Music or just am grated by this woman's voice.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
1

Someone teach the kids how to use compression, yikes.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
5

Still great 10 years later. Wasn't just a phase I was going thru

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Thu May 11 2023
5

Some genuinely beautiful and uplifting synth pop. Brings back a huge flood of Laneway 2014 memories alongside Haim, Lorde, Run the Jewels and the Jezabels. Bonus points for little hint of Scottish lilt you hear every now and then.

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Sun May 14 2023
5

Kojima's favorite album. I'm very familiar with this band, what a great debut! It's a must listen if you're a fan of pop/synth music. I love hearing a mix of Lauren and the boy's vocals. My favorite song is Night Sky, but it's full of bangers.

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Sat Jun 03 2023
5

Love the band and love the album.

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Mon Jun 12 2023
5

love it :) blast from the past

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Tue Jun 27 2023
5

I bloody love Chvrches. Love this album.

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Mon Jul 10 2023
5

One of my favorites from this list so far I think… this indie electro pop sound is kinda what made me fall in love with music in general. Makes me feel like I’m 14-15 shuffling my iPod library.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

Great album. “Lungs” and “Night Sky” are my highlights

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Fri Oct 06 2023
5

Science/Visions is best track from this, Lungs and Recover close. But I can't understand how they choose You Caught The Light to be closing track - that's a big no no for me. Great album and Screen Violence (2021) is even better.

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Thu Oct 12 2023
5

Fantastic stvff, trvly, always a great band. 5 stars.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

A grungier synthpop than Abba, but I can hear the 70s and especially 80s influence. Feels like music I should roller-skate to, which is a compliment. At the VERY least it breaks down the front door of my willpower and demands dancing.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

These synths were fucking inspirational.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
5

Absolutely loved this album!! Very 80s synth sounding with good drum beats and vocals are unique 👌

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Wed Dec 06 2023
5

Yassss! I love this. One of my fave running albums. Thank you 1001 albums

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Thu Dec 28 2023
5

This was a masterpiece when it came out! Still sounds good!

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

After hearing The Mother We Share in 2012, this was one of my most anticipated albums of 2013. I love this album so much. 5/5

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Tue Jan 23 2024
5

Love this band and album. Hard to believe it's one 10 years old.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
5

Topp 3 favorittband, og kanskje deres beste plate. Easy 5/5

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

A hypnotic and stunning synthpop jaunt from start to finish. I listened to this album on repeat for months when it first came out and was so happy to revisit it today and have it hold up. I also love seeing how much fun Chvrches have touring and engaging with their fans - it’s a refreshingly positive approach.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Very fun album, was not expecting Recover to be on this because I only knew it from their EP

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

I just like this album a lot. it's not my favorite of theirs so it's really like a 4.5 but I can't put that so (screen violence is just better because laura sings everything, sorry)

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

This was fun synthpop! I especially liked “Tether”. It had so many cool levels and was so high energy! I could definitely see myself listening to more by CHVRCHES.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

What a delight! I’ve always liked the singles I’ve heard from this band, but truthfully, I would have never got around to listening to this album if not for this project! This was just my type of thing! I can’t even figure out what my favorite track off the album is, I loved them all! Perfect electro-pop, I wish I could be slightly drunk in 2014 dancing to these tracks at the club!

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Thu Feb 08 2024
5

damn, there are a lot of haters in the comments here. this album bangs and only really dips in quality when you get to the bonus tracks at the end. the mother we share is an absolute banger (and the only one i knew ahead of time, this time from the Harmonix game Dropmix) and the energy and vibes carry through the next six or so songs easily (which were apparently all released as singles? wild). more of this please!! favorites: tracks 1-8, you caught the light

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Thu Feb 08 2024
5

so enjoyable. great addition to the 1001 albums list!

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Sun Feb 11 2024
5

Ну что ж, я люблю электронику. Ребёнок нулевых, не умеющий ценить текст вечных песен и звучание вечных инструментов, могущий лишь кайфовать от музыкальной синтезированной синтезатором наркоты. Lies, Night Sky, Science/Visions особенно хороши.

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Mon Feb 12 2024
5

Ethereal and beautiful, plus a Scottish bonus point - makes a surprising (to me) five stars!

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Tue Apr 18 2023
4

Very pleasant, sounded like disclosure inspo

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

My first experience with CHVRCHES was their most recent (or recentish, since I believe they have a new one coming out), checking it out on a whim and being blown away. Yet I checked out very little of their other stuff. This is pretty good, but it feels like practice for later highs. I can see how this would blow pop fans away at the time though, and I love how the last song interlopes The Cure’s “Plainsong”. Soon, Lauren (who really is a gifted singer) will get to duet with Robert Smith. B

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

This is the one CHVRCHES album I like. And like it I do. 4/5

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Fri Apr 21 2023
4

I like the general sound of it and the edginess of the lyrics. I don't know if this is so but it seems like the kind of music that would play over the end credits of a tv show popular with millennials (not an insult).

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Fri Apr 21 2023
4

This one was totally new to me and I thought it was enjoyable. It didn't always connect, but overall it made a positive impression.

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Fri Apr 21 2023
4

Being a big fan of 1980s synth pop as well as some more modern incarnations such as Icona Pop, I had high expectations for this album. The first listen through didn't meet those. However, listening again made me realize that I might really love this one, given a few more listens. I quite enjoyed it and would like to get to that point.

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Fri Apr 21 2023
4

Electronic pop with high prodution values. It flows very nicely and even has two songs that I quite liked - Recover and Night Sky. But this album hasn't any really bad songs. The production quality is very high, too. This is what modern pop sould sound like (instead of 95% of tracks currently in the pop charts, but that is another story). 3.5/5

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Mon Apr 24 2023
4

Interesting album. A tad bit generic for it's age, but not in a bad way. I enjoyed it as a background music.

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Tue May 02 2023
4

CHVRCHES is one of those bands that my husband always asks me why I don't listen to, since they sound like other stuff I'm into. This was my first time giving them a real chance. It reminded a lot of Lights and maybe even a little bit of Taylor Swift, on certain tracks. I liked it overall on my first listen and plan to listen again. It wasn't love at first listen but I think it would grow on me more.

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Wed May 03 2023
4

I really like this album and band.

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Wed May 03 2023
4

This was a fun way to start the day.

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Thu May 11 2023
4

Decent album with delucious synth sounds but reminds me a lot of Naked and Famous and I think they do it better. Great opening track tho.

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Mon May 15 2023
4

A few Christmas’s ago, I was discussing new bands I liked with my nieces and Churches was one of the few areas of overlap. I would describe them as synth-pop, with a moderate emphasis on the pop but enough to keep my (then teenage) nieces interested. The lead singer borrows a style popular on the radio these days, I don’t know what it’s called, but Lorde sings in a similar style. That style of music doesn’t do much for me, but I’m going to go +1 for the edgier pieces like “Science/Visions” and especially “Lies”.

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Mon May 15 2023
4

Now you’re talking!!! This is exceptionally good! I love the whole urgent vibe of the record and the lassies vocals are mesmeric! Fuckin’ awesome!

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Tue May 16 2023
4

Definitely worth another listen. Her voice is so high, though, it’s distracting.

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Mon May 22 2023
4

I think it’s saying something that I’ve heard most of these songs out in the wild before. Maybe a bit repetitive but overall a strong album of quality pop

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Mon May 22 2023
4

There is music I like better by Chvrches, but this is still good. Just not their best. I was debating between 3 1/2 stars or 4, so I'll average and round :) 4 stars.

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Sat May 27 2023
4

I really really liked this album. Between the synth pop vibes, the percussion, and the almost robotic sounding female singer, the whole thing just felt very vibrant to me.

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Sat May 27 2023
4

Absolutely loved the synthesisers. The whole album had a real 80s vibe. I don’t know why it makes the list but it is a great listen. Favourite track is: The Bones of What You Believe

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Mon May 29 2023
4

great album, fun and different. vocals can get kind of annoying after a bit.

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Wed May 31 2023
4

It’s like Katy Perry singing for Depeche Mode or New Order. I love this dark, mature icy electro-pop. I can hear the indie/alt rock influence on the song writing. A great new discovery for me.

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Fri Jun 02 2023
4

This is a banger if you ask me. I love CHVRCHES they are great. Except for when they let the guy sing.

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Sat Jun 03 2023
4

Solid vibes, was the peak of this kind of music

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Mon Jun 05 2023
4

Screams 2010s loudly. A good album, maybe a little too much of the same and a bit too long to really be great for me.

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