Ever since Chvrches debut album, ‘The Bones of What You Believe’, came out in 2013, they hit the ground running. Their usage of 80’s sounding synthesizer combined with the distinctive vocals of Lauren Mayberry really give the band a post modern twist which me and many others, adore.

As such, I had very high expectations for the bands newest upcoming album ‘Every Open Eye’ and straight from the opening, I was hooked. The opening track ‘Never Ending Circles’ really has that classic Chvrches feel to it, instantly setting the bar for the rest of the album, the intricate synths, breaking drums and vocals were exactly what you’ve come to expect from the band.

However, as the album went on, this became one of the issues with the album; it was exactly what I was expecting. In some ways, Chvrches seem to have very much ‘played it safe’, instead of developing their sound to give a new unique buzz, it feels very much the same as before. You get impression that one or two of the tracks sound more like extras from the previous album, than new material.

Nonetheless, a key aspect of this album is the beautiful contrast of dark undertones in the lyrics in amongst the dance like sound. Songs such as ‘Keep You On My Side’ or ’Playing Dead’ really gives a sense of twisted emotion whilst still providing riffs, making it very easy to dance along to.

The biggest peak in the album is track number 6, ‘High Enough To Carry You Over’. Sung by Martin Doherty (typically keyboard/guitar), the track works seamlessly with the others. It really gives an emphasis on the notion this band know each others’ strengths and weaknesses incredibly well, using them to form the best sound possible, even if it does go against the ‘norm’.

The final track, ‘Afterglow’, is the best possible way to end the album. Instead of going for a classic, upbeat, ’big finish’ approach, it’s quite the opposite with a calming, simple, and emotional song, which really expresses the variation of Lauren’s vocals, hitting the highest notes whilst still maintaining her soft unique tone, which cannot be matched.

Overall, ‘Every Open Eye’ is an impressive second album, especially given the ‘second album syndrome’ many artists struggle with after successful debuts, and any prior or new Chvrches fans will most likely agree. The album demonstrates how talented and unique this band is, and they are certainly worth listening to if you haven’t already. Chvrches certainly seem to have a lot to offer and it’s almost certain that we will see them headline big festivals in years to come and release more exceptional records.

Ben Walker

 

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