REVIEW: CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye

Since their gargantuan debut only two years ago, we’ve all fawned over this Glasweigan twee-some called CHVRCHES and their ability to synth-pop our tits off (consensually, of course). We could bore you with the travails of second album pressure, but CHVRCHES aren’t ones to sit around for a slump.

Evidence? Never Ending Circles opens Every Open Eye like a sledgehammer through a slot machine, as our favourite Scottish siren Lauren Mayberry punches through. “Here’s to taking what you came for/ Here’s to running off the pain/Here’s to just another no-man,” she sings. We’ve all been there and, with that, the trio remind us how they’re capable of blending fiercely independent missives among the banging tunes.

Teaser-single Leave A Trace remains perfectly imperfect before rapid-fire Keep You On My Side, a staple effort from the workings of pop-producing veteran Spike Stent. Elsewhere, pop masterpiece Clearest Blue (which admittedly sounds like the world’s friendliest pregnancy test) has Mayberry crying to the heavens, “Tell me, tell me you’ll meet me, tell me, tell me you’ll meet me” before an arm-flail of a drop that sounds like the beat-baby of Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. High fives all round.

As important as Mayberry’s unapologetic performances are on this album, they’re only one corner of this pyramid’s base. Iain Cook’s crystalline electronics give the record the right lacquer, while Martin Doherty takes the lead for the sleek two-stepper High Enough To Carry You Over. Lyrically, it could act as a call before the response of Never Ending Circles, though Doc pitches it to fit perfectly with the rest of the album.

As Empty Threat resounds the twisted joy of Gun, there is a stability of style and an evident focus on Every Open Eye certified by their deserved critical succession. For a second effort, CHVRCHES’ emotional energy is both amplified and impossible to ignore, whether that’s in form or the fierce lyricism that seems partially a response to trolling issues they’ve been facing. But then this is beyond that one discussion – their narrative in that context is important but never defined by it, a resolute brushing-off before they continue down their own path.

That journey is cemented with Down Side Of Me, our prayers aurally answered in the closest entry to a ballad we’ve ever heard from the trio; taking it down a notch to appreciate a resentful Mayberry warding off a lover in protection from her inner demons is as infatuating as it is game-changing. As the filler-free LP’s closing number Afterglow fades to black, the shimmering sound that Bones built remains intact in a ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’ clause. If you’re a CHVRCHES fan in phases or a pop connoisseur, Every Open Eye is the passing of an ecstasy tab by your best friend in support of a seeing your ex in the light of the dancefloor. Just magical, with a tint of sadness.

David Yates

Every Open Eye by CHVRCHES can be ordered here.

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CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye
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