Chvrches – Every Open Eye Review

Glasgow’s premier synth-pop outfit Chvrches have released Every Open Eye today as the follow up to their 2013 debut The Bones of What You Believe and have spoken about taking “a less is more approach” to their sound for what is the infamous second album. Refining their sound is probably a wise choice as opposed to forcing it upon people again or gambling on unknowns. This album is all about the honing and refinement of their initial sound so with that in mind we can be assured of another solid effort with some subtle improvements with a greater emphasis on the emotive element of their sound. With this in mind, it might not be a musical innovation, but it should remain at least as dynamic and infectious as their debut.

The lead single from the album ‘Leave a Trace’ is indicative of this sees the group sounding leaner, cleaner, more tuneful and direct. The instrumentation performs the same function it did on their earlier material, but are noticeably sharper and more melodic. The same can be said for vocalist Lauren Mayberry who now projects her vocal just as confidently ahead of the instrumentation as opposed to sitting amongst it previously. This emphasises the direct musical route taken here and heightens the focus on the candid and passionate content of the lyrics.  ‘Never Ending Circles’ showcases their pop sensibility and melodic capabilities driven by Lauren Mayberry’s soft, yet driven vocals and vocal instrumentation. This is further pushed by airy trickling electronica in the chorus which is offset with grinding and distorted synths to bridge to the verses. You can sense the development in their sound with their juxtaposition of those industrial sounds with the more pop orientated styles and how they have managed to smooth over the transition between the two is further testament to their growing ability. In ‘Clearest Blue’ they demonstrate the gentle shift in their style in a more prominent fashion with this Dance track. As has been the case with their singles so far this year, they have made their sound leaner, cleaner and more direct, but additionally with this track, they have channelled their more industrial electronic sound into at a rapid pace and it resembles a Dance inspired track with those heavier beats. These are met with the wistful vocals of Lauren Mayberry which go a long way towards making the track more engaging as a piece of energetic pop as opposed to a frigid piece of Dance or Light Techno.

‘Keep You On My Side’ delivers heavy driving beats along with chiming overtones in an effective combination of old  European dance tracks with modern synth pop and with Lauren Mayberry’s assured, yet potent delivery makes for a dramatic and powerful track. It is immaculately produced and balances the heavy with the light brilliantly and plays each tone off each other going on to add a richness to their sound. ‘High Enough To Carry Over’ is a more ballad-inspired track with the soft waves of chiming electronica and a more soulful delivery from Martin Doherty who also provides another marked vocal development. ‘Playing Dead’ is another theatrical piece of melodic synth-pop with powerful vocal deliveries as if from a futuristic musical. It is driven by a rumbling bass line and expanded with strokes of electronica. The other tracks are examples of the group’s sharper and more direct pop sound with varying structures and rhythms. The album ends on ‘Afterglow’ for a rare piece of slow and considered music from the group with whirring organs playing the leading role and largely letting Lauren’s vocals showcase themselves. Occasionally the organs rise in volume and peak opportune moments to maximise the impact of the harmonies on offer. This album is one that shows Chvrches are here to stay and in being smart they’ve produced a more mature and powerful body of music and it is developed in every sense which leaves much promise for their third album.

Chvrches – Every Open Eye = 8/10

Owen Riddle  @oriddleo1995

Single Review – CHVRCHES – Leave a Trace

Glasgow’s finest synthpop outfit CHVRCHES yesterday announced the eagerly awaited follow-up to their well received debut LP The Bones of What You Believe with Every Open Eye which can be expected in September. They’ve talked of pursuing a “less is more approach” with this upcoming album and a more emotive album. The lead single from the album ‘Leave a Trace’ is indicative of this sees the group sounding leaner, cleaner, more tuneful and direct. The instrumentation performs the same function it did on their earlier material, but are noticeably sharper and more melodic. The same can be said for vocalist Lauren Mayberry who now projects her vocal just as confidently ahead of the instrumentation as opposed to sitting amongst it previously. This emphasises the direct musical route taken here and heightens the focus on the candid and passionate content of the lyrics. This seems to be a very noticeable refinement from the group who look set to move up another level with this matured and enhanced sound.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Chvrches – Under The Tide

chvrches

Glasgow’s most current musical experts are still continuing to make an impact with their debut album The Bones of What You Believe with an on-going tour of that album from September last year. Now they have unveiled a polished up version of album track; ‘Under The Tide’ The track opens with a distorted and lightly churning synth as it offers up a sprung rhythm and more low lying, bouncing chords to act as the bass sound and anchor for the song’s rhythm section. It fades out into more stripped back moments with only the shimmering electronica to accompany it, before it begins to rebuild it’s sound around a phased out whirring. Martin Doherty’s vocals are a wise choice against the light of the shimmering and glistening synths and they act as a neat and subtle middle ground. A nice track that didn’t need too much polish anyway.

Sunday Suggestion – Chvrches – Lies

One of my biggest regrets from last year was not being able to take a look at Chvrches and their debut album from last year entitled The Bones of What You Believe. They certainly deserved their fifth place on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll and the performance of their album and singles warranted it. I decided to have a closer look into what they were about recently and their sound and style did strike me; even if it isn’t hugely innovative. Their synthpop style and sharp production instantly springs names like Depeche Mode and Gary Numan to mind, which play a sizeable role in their influence that they project without any qualms. As well as this they have advanced this influence into slick and cool melodies and rhythms that are forged around the delicate and soft quality of Lauren’s vocal. This results in a highly refined piece of synth driven pop music. The song that best depicts these traits is ‘Lies’. It opens with the steady bounce of the synths that’s maintained throughout the song and these solid sounds are contrasted with Lauren’s softer and slightly vulnerable vocals against the repetitive mechanical sounds and acts as the beating heart amongst the synthetic blasts. It’s stepped up in the chorus for a crisp and driven hook from both instrumental and vocal and it closes in the grinding, industrial fashion that was more held back for most of the song. This song showcases all the qualities of Chvrches and the highest refinement of the pop sounds they have forged.

http://youtu.be/81RqEnvczV8

Image from www.electricity-club.co.uk