Chvrches have just released their second album exactly two years after their first one, bursting with fresh synth-pop jams, catapulted them into the spotlight.
The second album can a make or break a band, and Chvrches certainly set themselves a high standard, but their new work sure as hell delivers.
They’ve been called chrome pop, twisted pop and even emo but whatever you want to call them, Chvrches are jewel in Scotland’s musical crown! Like their debut album, Every Open Eye was conceived in a basement flat in the Southside of Glasgow – the band’s own musical breeding ground.
With this album we get exactly what we came for from the word go; the record kicks off in their signature style with pounding drums, surging electro and tingling layers of synth in Never Ending Circles, an uplifting anthem which marches at you with honest lyrics: “If you want another say you need another!”
Unless you’ve been under a rock you will have already had the pleasure of hearing the ‘avalanche of sound’ that is Leave a Trace, their debut release from this record. Undeniably catchy, it has a deeper, bubbling bassline and a cheery, singalong chorus you’ll find yourself belting out in the shower. They pick up the pace with Keep Me on Your Side which is a big dancey Abba-esque banger with peals of synth giving it an undeniably 80s feel.
The trio show no signs of slowing the party with Make Them Gold, a personal favourite of mine. Inspirational, fast paced and pumping, this is a song for waking up to and feeling fantastic, so set it as your alarm. Mayberry sings about what makes us – our smallest thoughts and our longest days. It’s a song about loving your best qualities because they make you golden. Lovely! High Enough to Carry You Over is the only track sung by synth player and guitarist Martin Doherty. Unfortunately for me it is a weaker track because Doherty’s voice comes across whiney, which isn’t complimented by the desperate lyrics. “If only you hadn’t given me up,” he says. Well I would have if you were whining at me like that to be fair…
Mayberry is back in control with Empty Threat, a feisty, in-your-face electro tune. A hidden gem in this track is a beautiful bridge section where she sings about the rising tide which pre-empts a gradual build back up to the pumping chorus. We eventually get a breather with Down Side of Me, which is slow but by no means less powerful. One welcome difference in this song is that we hear Mayberry’s voice drawn out over longer melodies. In the other tracks her lyrical style is punchy and often features short statements but this track really showcases her vocal strength. Playing Dead slowly builds the tempo back up. Defiant and rocky, it delivers another catchy chorus as standard. Chvrches’ signature rhythm is back to its thumping prime with Bury It, a track about rising above problems. It is a high-pitched assault on the ears though, so steer clear after a night out!
Afterglow is a beautiful and apt name for the album’s last track, which is a truly magical wee tune. No blasting drums, no surging synths. Uplifting and echoey, it’s a little hug for your ears after the wonderful, powerful bashing they received throughout the rest of the record. A good one to shed a tear to if you’re feeling totes emosh too.
This record is a perfect follow-up to the debut album, featuring a fab line up of energetic anthems to get you dancing. Not only do Chvrches produce inspirational music to get us tapping our toes but their poetic lyrics give them real substance. Sadly though, they still haven’t learned to spell…