Every Open Eye // CHVRCHES
September 25th, Glassnote Records
CHVRCHES, along with a small handful of other 2010’s electronic based artists, have shifted the overall trajectory of pop music in a frighteningly short amount of years. Popping seemingly out of nowhere in 2012, CHVRCHES quickly branded a mixture of synth based pop with a rare aggression and sharpness missing in much of the “electro-pop” sphere. In a year of diminished returns and expectation defying comebacks, it’s somewhat relieving to find a band enhancing the same sound that made them famous without merely treading water or, conversely, pulling a 180 flip. Every Open Eye will sound familiar to anyone remotely acquainted with the Glasgow trio, but the minimal revisions give an added leanness to an already pointed band.
While The Bones of What You Believe sounded so immediately effective with its seven track streak of damn near perfect pop bangers, Every Open Eye only opens with a one-two-three punch of gutturally catchy songs. From then on, CHVRCHES seem more interested in slow burning precision and cohesiveness than chest pounding anthems. The melodies remain exceptional between both verses and choruses, but lead singer (and most badass frontwoman around today) Lauren Mayberry saves the rest of the jaw-dropping earworms akin to “The Mother We Share” for third act highlights “Down Side of Me” and “Bury It” and even then there’s a sense of purposeful restraint.
“Leave a Trace”, lead single and the most similar sounding track to TBOWYB holds much of the aggression on the album. An early highlight, Mayberry sings with the anger and confusion that trademarked tracks like “Gun” and “We Sink”, but by now her vocals sound slightly more wounded, giving new meaning to simple phrases like “I know I need to feel relief/I know I need to feel released”. Elsewhere, her lyricism could come across as defeated if it weren’t for her steady delivery and fast tempo backdrops. When the energy is toned down, it comes down hard and gives way to more delicate arrangements and gives Mayberry’s voice more space to roam around in. Doherty also appears briefly, providing a gruff backbone to “High Enough To Carry You Over”, sounding like a more worn version of his previous takes singing lead.
While the middle of the record drags in a way that Bones never did, Every Open Eye plays like the middle draft of a classic record in which CHVRCHES experiment with their sound while honing in on their stronger assets. Overall, this album comes across as more immediate and almost mature, but instead of loosening their sound to accommodate for the adjusted pop world that they helped create, CHVRCHES have taken the slow burning route to perfecting their already established sound.
Fave Tracks: “Never Ending Circles”, “Leave a Trace”, “Down Side of Me”