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Album Review: CHVRCHES - 'Every Open Eye'

21 September 2015 | 3:57 pm | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

A real embodiment of hipster music that actually delivers.

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Scottish indie/pop trio CHVRCHES are taking the world by a pleasantly electronic pop storm. With their second album, ‘Every Open Eye’, the band is going to be enlarging their fan-base nearly tenfold with an album like this.

The song-structures are much tighter and the songs themselves are far more concise and cohesive, and that’s something that has really came with time and the honing of their craft, which helps to put this record absolutely fucking leagues ahead of the group's endless single-spawning debut album, ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’. It’s also worth noting that if you liked that record at all, then you’ll crush on this record harder than a mid-pubescent teenage boy right in smack dead centre of high school. However, this record is a little bit more “natural” sounding than the band's debut, with a little less edited vocal cuts and a slightly less-processed sounding instrumentation helping to beef up their sound. All of those aspects are still big parts of the group’s sound though.

The dynamic, often-soaring and rather ethereal voice of singer Lauren Mayberry drives each song along, and she has the kind of voice that would probably suit any genre; acoustic, full-blown rock songs, indie, power metal, and of course, music such as this. But CHVRCHES isn’t just its young female leader belting out vocal hooks, no matter how many bloody outlets and publications would lead you to believe by the amount of times they don’t mention the other two members, and this is where the backing instrumentation (namely the light guitars), programmed drums and ambient synth of Ian Cook and Martin Doherty really comes in. These guys really help to craft the brilliant musical frameworks for Mayberry’s voice, and the dudes even get in on the fun, with vocal leads on ‘High Enough To Carry You Over’, furthering this line of thought.

This album has some of the best songs that the group has written thus far in their somewhat short but incredibly successful career. ‘Bury It’ has one of the biggest and punchiest choruses on the whole record, ‘Clearest Blue‘ is a monumentally driving, building song that reaches a strong euphoric climax, whereas ‘Leave A Trace‘ is a little bit more subtle in its choruses and textures, but is nonetheless danceable. The stabbing synth of ‘Never Ending Circles’ makes out for one real banger, and yet, for all the huge anthems that this record pops out, ‘Afterglow’ winds everything down nice and smoothly with just light synth and vocals, so smooth in fact that it could sing you tight to sleep, but in the best possible way.

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CHVRCHES may have just been a one-hit wonder band with their single, ‘The Mother We Share’, but with their second album, they put most of that career restricting tag-line far, far behind them. ‘Every Open Eye’ is 11 songs of a band who knows how they want to sound and better yet, how they channel that sound to make their art the best it can be.