“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”
seems to be CHVRCHES new motto. The band’s debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, released in 2013, was a haven of synth-pop goodness that was met with both critical and popular acclaim. Every Open Eye, the band’s follow up album which was released on September 25th via Glassnote Records, is a seamless continuation of the sound their fans have come to know and love.
Of course, that is not to say that CHVRCHES hasn’t evolved, for they most certainly have. What was an almost blinding sense of pain and intense emotions, evidenced in earlier songs like “Gun” and “We Sink,” becomes more nuanced in Every Open Eye. Just take lyrics such as “I will wipe the salt off of my skin and I’ll admit that I got it wrong / And there is grey between the lines,” (“Leave a Trace”) and “No one tells us what is hard and what is fair / And will we deliver once we know where to fall” (“Make Them Gold”).
Yet despite their newfound maturity, Every Open Eye stays true to a lot of the same qualities that made The Bones of What You Believe so successful. Complementing and leveling out the perceptive lyrics of singer Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty have concocted expertly layered, danceable accompaniments that will excel just as well at parties as they will during your breakup (“Clearest Blue” is likely to work the best in both cases). Their track list is smart too; alternating between male and female vocals, upbeat tunes and soulful ballads, CHVRCHES takes the listener on a carefully curated journey through their story.
When bands start their career off with the same breakneck speed and instant acceptance that CHVRCHES received, it’s all too easy for their sophomore album to flop for all kinds of reasons: either it sounds too different because they don’t want to be pigeonholed, or, the reverse, it sounds too similar because they’re trying to recreate what made them so successful in the first place without actually believing in the product they’re making. Yet Every Open Eye has shown the world that this tiny band from Scotland has the staying power; they have something to say, and they’re going to say it how they want to. Like Mayberry concludes in the last lines of “Afterglow,” the album’s finale, they have “given up all [they] can,” leaving us with a raw, truthful representation of themselves as both artists and human beings.
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