Album Review: CHVRCHES, Every Eye Open

CHVRCHES - Every Eye OpenIt does not seem long ago that the Scottish synth-pop outfit Chvrches were first generating the unstoppable momentum that propelled them from just an internet buzz band into the pop music juggernaut that tirelessly toured the world and connected with fans across the globe. A year has passed since the band wrapped up their massive tour in support of their critically acclaimed debut record The Bones of What You Believe and already they come through with an admirable follow up in Every Open Eye.

With this new project, we see Chvrches moving into a brighter and more anthemic sound. Almost all the tracks lead to a soaring chorus in which singer Lauren Mayberry’s voice brings a welcome human quality to the wash of colorful, playful synth lines. The band seems to have lost the more atmospheric sounds that peppered their last record as they appear to be chasing after the “less is more” aesthetic as their new songs are able to reach the same highs all while keeping the instrumentation direct and lean. In terms of songwriting the new album picks up where Bones left of, as the band is able to craft not only memorable hook-laden choruses, but verses and bridges that pack just as much punch.

The album is frontloaded with all of the major singles including the intro track “Never Ending Circles” and the self proclaimed “middle finger mic drop” track “Leave A Trace,” in which Mayberry’s saccharine voice delivers a snarky indictment of a relationship gone awry. However, the highlight of the album comes with the track “Clearest Blue” where we once again see the pop band breaking away from conventional song structure as they build verse upon verse until the song erupts into an instrumental passage that strikes the listener more than any chorus could.

It is now at the midpoint of the album where one might begin to lower their expectations, especially because all of the lead singles have past, but in this case that is unnecessary. Chvrches continue to deliver one track after another of infectious pop songs each with choruses seemingly more memorable than the last. “Empty Threat” and “Bury It” are the standout tracks of the second half of the record that are separated by “Down Side of Me,” which provides a nice change of pace as the song slowly builds upon a hypnotic drum beat towards the climax in which multiple vocal layers swirl around creating a darker atmosphere and providing a break from the bands brighter sound. The whole project is brought to a close with “Afterglow” which fades the album out with a slow and moody atmosphere.

Every Open Eye finds Chvrches honing in their talents, and sounding more self aware than ever while still retaining their talent for writing pop songs that have depth. NICHOLAS




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