CHVRCHES have announced the release of the 10 Year Anniversary Special Edition of their acclaimed debut album The Bones Of What You Believe, due October 13th via Glassnote Records. The Special Edition is available in 1xLP clear vinyl, 2xLP black vinyl with die cut sleeve, 2xCD and Digital formats. (Photo credit: Eliot Hazel)

A decade ago, CHVRCHES – Lauren Mayberry, Martin Doherty and Iain Cook – came out of nowhere to suddenly be everywhere. They piqued interest when posting their first song “Lies” online in May 2012, before swiftly following it in the autumn with the song that went on to become their calling card and signature. “The Mother We Share” – a euphoric, expertly-crafted piece of synthpop with a warm emotional center – captured the imagination of millions of listeners and saw the band step out from the shadows to put faces to the names. Both tracks, alongside later singles “Recover” and “Gun”, featured on The Bones of What You Believe, released in autumn 2013 to rapt reviews.

“It feels quite strange that Bones is almost a decade old. In some ways, it’s like it just happened, but also like that era was a lifetime ago. We are very grateful to all the fans who gave that album a special place in their heart, and still show us so much kindness today.”

– Lauren Mayberry

The album was produced by the band and recorded in Cook’s Alucard Studio in Glasgow, before being mixed by Rich Costey (Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Rós). The original album has been remastered for this Special Edition by Gavin Lurssen, who mastered the band’s most recent album Screen Violence. Alongside the original 12 tracks, there are four previously unheard songs and five live tracks, the latter recorded at Ancienne Belgique in 2013.

The announcement of the Special Edition is accompanied by the release of “Manhattan”, the first in a series of previously unheard songs recorded during the making of the album.

Says Cook: “In late Summer 2011, Martin and I got together after having talked about doing so for a few years and started throwing down some synth-based ideas in my studio on the south side of Glasgow. ‘Manhattan’ was the fourth idea we worked on together. It was the first time we messed around with sampling and chopping up our vocals which would go on to become one of the hallmarks of the band’s sound. Lyrically, we were playing around with pretty abstract apocalyptic imagery – in this case the Manhattan Project. This was right around the time we asked Lauren to come into the studio to try out some additional vocals.”

“‘Manhattan’ was one of the first songs Iain and Martin played me and it immediately felt like an exciting thing to be involved in,” continues Mayberry. “It really showcased a lot of the traits that would eventually become synonymous with CHVRCHES and what our first album would end up sounding like. It’s fun to listen to it now, knowing everything that came along after it.”

Listen to “Manhattan

CHVRCHES’s magic lies in their juxtaposition of joy and doubt – these are robust, colourful pop songs whose lyrics reveal doubt and humanity, enhanced by the purity of Mayberry’s voice.

Prior to the formation of CHVRCHES, Cook and Doherty watched the world of electronics develop from behind more traditional instruments. Cook, who also composed for TV and film, played with the Scottish alt-rock group Aereogramme and was one half of its later incarnation The Unwinding Hours, whilst Doherty played keyboards for The Twilight Sad. Neither made music that sounded quite like this, until Mayberry – then working as a music journalist while singing with Glaswegian post-rock collective Blue Sky Archives, with whom Cook had previously recorded – turned up to help with a demo.

Mayberry’s voice – a cut-glass, sci-fi soprano rounded off with warm Glaswegian tones – developed into a formidable force. Onstage Cook and Doherty stood behind two banks of analogue synths, linked by a controller, allowing them to access one another’s machines and dovetail their bright explosions of sound. Their digital/analogue interface recalls their ’80s heroes Prince and Depeche Mode but they work with the era-spanning musical know-how of Kieran Hebden and the celebratory spirit of LCD Soundsystem.

The 12 songs that make up The Bones of What You Believe are linked by their humanity but Mayberry’s lyrics are abstract and strangely inspirational. “With teeth we’ve come this far, I’ll take this thing by the throat and walk away,” she sings on “By The Throat”: everywhere, the imagery of flesh and blood, love and hope, rub up against Doherty and Cook’s aggressive synth fills and spluttering fanfares.

On “You Caught The Light”, Doherty takes lead vocals and Cook’s guitar is reminiscent of Simple Minds or The Cure – an indie rock yearning in an electronic world. “Science and Visions” sets Mayberry’s voice on a dark and ominous techno soundscape; on “Lungs” the sweetest melody gets an attack of crunchy bass and guitar.

Above all, the album is characterized by a combination of passion and restraint, Cook and Doherty often withholding their wizardry to let the melodies speak for themselves. That subtle balance is the sound of experience – three musicians who are endlessly excited by the sound they have discovered, but clearly in it for the long haul.

Now, a decade later, with four acclaimed albums under their belts – The Bones Of What You Believe followed by 2015’s Every Open Eye, 2018’s Love is Dead and Screen Violence from 2021 – alongside a string of awards and nominations including the SXSW Grulke Prize, NME, and BRIT awards, is a time to take stock and look back at the record that started it all.

1. The Mother We Share

2. We Sink

3. Gun

4. Tether

5. Lies

6. Under The Tide

7. Recover

8. Night Sky

9. Science/Visions

10. Lungs

11. By The Throat

12. You Caught The Light

13. Manhattan

14. White Summer

15. Talking In My Sleep

16. City On Fire

17. We Sink (Live)

18. Now Is Not The Time (Live)

19. Lies (Live)

20. Strong Hand (Live)

21. By The Throat (Live)