Scottish electro-pop juggernauts Chvrches are one of UK’s most surprisingly successful exports after cracking and then destroying the US market with their debut LP ‘The Mother We Share’. A well collated collection of tracks demonstrating Eurythmics style elation against gritty Glasvegas vocal delivery in darker parts of the album. The trio’s return has a similar chronology to the success of its predecessor as with lack of fanfare or major promotion it seems to have arrived to be readily consumed by a far larger fanbase. Its first single ‘Leave A Trace’ has been described by lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry as a ‘middle finger mic-drop’ and although the lyrics are rather scathing its delivery has that anthemic quality punctured by glistening synth that made the first album so repeatable.
‘Keep You on My Side’ is deliciously 80s reminiscent with a sonar exterior almost imitating Pet Shop Boys or early Chemical Brothers and Lauren’s hyperactive vocal runs a pace that almost outdoes the instrumentals. The often poetic lyrics really reflect a songwriter at the height of her game and a trio who’s working dynamic is so in tune that they achieve consistency numerous times during this record. This includes booming opening track ‘Never Ending Circles’ as Mulberry suggest endless toasts to a variety of enigmatic circumstances yet the overall idea is to simply unite the already solid fanbase in a live setting. ‘Make Them Gold’ meanwhile involves numerous permeating electro violins and a rushing snare beat outro yet its four minute running time feels laborious as little is left to enthral you when you consider its hollow lyrical content. ‘Down Side of Me’ is equally arduously long and acts as some extended interlude as its structure warrants momentous electro build up and instead it never seems to materialise into anything of value.
‘Clearest Blue’ is dewey-eyed dance floor filler that is proud, brash and would have made a great opener with its Depeche Mode choral instrumentals and anthemic repetition of ‘Every Open Eye’. Meanwhile ‘High Enough to Carry You Over’ offers a fantastic opposition to Mulberry’s infantile and bright vocal as Martin Doherty takes helm and instantly displaces the track to a darker, more desperate place. ‘Bury It’ blends celtic rock heritage with cutting edge synth to create fist in the air moments to be shared between Chvrches and their fans contrasting the slow burning ‘Afterglow’ well.
The New Order likeness is acknowledged by the band themselves in a pixelated album cover yet the connotations to artists such as this make perfect sense as Chvrches have now created two albums with structures and sonar landscapes powerful enough to inspire and effect upcoming musicians. An impressive feat for a band who only formed in 2011, the sheer anthemic quality of ‘Every Open Eye’ will capture the excitement and thrill of its fanbase varying in age, nationality and geographical location to further the reach of Chvrches dramatically. It may not be perfect, but it is universally accessible.
Chvrches release ‘Every Open Eye’ on September 25th through Virgin/Glassnote Records