Album of the Week: Chvrches, 'Every Open Eye'


Chvrches, 'Every Open Eye'
Chvrches, 'Every Open Eye' (Glassnote Records.)

Chvrches follow up their debut record with an album that defines what modern synth pop is. After taking a break from touring on their critically acclaimed debut, the Scottish trio returned to Glasgow to re-imagine their style of contemporary pop production. The result is a stunning 55 minutes that channels the foundations of '80s pop and the future sounds of dance music.

While Every Open Eye has a more restrained pop structure that comes from experience as a production team, it still contains the earnestness of the band's beginnings. At first blush, the album comes across as more upbeat and optimistic, but listen closely, and you hear the darker lyrics of Lauren Mayberry as she and the band reflect on their international success. Mayberry's strong voice off stage shines through on the album as she pours emotion into songs like "Keep You On My Side" and "Playing Dead." Her voice cuts through the dense combination of drum machines and layered synth lines.

For a band who helped restart the trend of synthesizer-driven indie pop, they release their sophomore album in a landscape where the sounds of The Bones of What You Believe are synonymous with what is considered indie music. The production on Every Open Eye has a harder edge than Chvrches' previous work; it has the structure of a pop record but the dynamics of a rock album. They resisted the temptation to write a dance record and focused on writing songs that are listenable outside the club.

Compared to their contemporaries like Purity Ring and Poliça, Chvrches have more mass appeal; it's apparent listening to the singles from Every Open Eye. They are unafraid to embrace the pop sounds of the past. Like Depeche Mode or Annie Lennox in the '80s, the art comes first and the commerce is less of a concern. That approach has enabled Chvrches to be themselves on their sophomore release and to make pop music without worry of their popular success.

Chvrches' Every Open Eye is out now on Glassnote Records.

Audience ratings for this album

Among The Current's listeners who submitted a rating for this album, two-thirds gave it 5 out of 5 stars. Poll closed at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 16.

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