As someone who's been keeping up with Iain Cook's activities for quite a while, it still strikes me as a little strange to see him as part of a band who seem set to take the world by storm. A former member of Aereogramme and The Unwinding Hours in an electro-pop band? I couldn't have foreseen that two years ago, but here we are, after a few brilliant singles, the most celebrated of which has been 'The Mother We Share' - undoubtedly CHVRCHES' calling card. Cook has shacked up with ex-Blue Sky Archives member Lauren Mayberry and former The Twilight Sad live keyboardist Martin Doherty to create one of the most exciting debuts of the year - one which, in itself, is full of surprises.

Synth-pop is undoubtedly a crowded market, so what makes The Bones of What You Believe so special? Well, Mayberry's lyrics would be enough to elevate this debut above the usual standard fare on their own. Scottish bands do heartbreak better than most anyone, and we've already seen two different sides of her outlook on two of the previous singles: her precise delivery is unable to mask the menace on 'Gun' ("You had better run from me with everything you own"), while she strikes a conciliatory note on the unquestionably brilliant 'Recover' ("I'll give you one more chance to say we can change our old ways / And you take what you need, and I know you don't need me").

With the singles out of the way, the album really gets its time to shine. It showcases fantastic strength in depth, and doesn't need to be bolstered by the previously-heard tracks. Possibly the best song in their entire catalogue so far, 'We Sink' is tossed out two songs in, its four-to-the-floor beat and juddering synth melodies leading to a colossal chorus (one of many on the album): "I'll be a thorn in your side til you die / I'll be a thorn in your side for always / If we sink, we lift our love." It's a high-energy burst that gives the album enough momentum to power through the rest of its running time, though the run from 'The Mother We Share' to 'Recover' slows things down at just the right moment for the dreamy 'Tether', which showcases the band's softer side. Cook gets a couple of opportunities to take lead vocals at key points, too; his contribution on 'Under the Tide' closes side A in impressive fashion, and slowing things right down for 'You Caught the Light' ensures that the album's finale has the desired effect.

Many albums like this settle for being consistent, but there's an undeniably high level of quality on offer here. With the album's promotional cycle heating up, there are a number of songs that could be sleeper hits somewhere down the line. Aside from the obvious ('We Sink'), there's also the soaring grandeur of 'Night Sky', while 'Science/Visions' strips things back for a rawer approach, and could certainly show off one of the band's different sides to those who haven't yet been won over. 'Lungs', meanwhile, is catchy as hell - if they really wanted to go for the straight-up pop market, that would be the next single.

The whole album is made up of songs that could work very well indeed outside of the wider context, and most importantly, not one of them falls through the cracks. Great lyrics? Check. Well-formed songs? Check. Brilliant hooks? That'll be 12 checks. If you're looking for a synth-pop album from this year that does everything it sets out to do, get on this - then you won't have to say you've missed out when CHVRCHES become a going concern. It will happen, it's just a question of when.