It was wonderfully refreshing to see CHVRCHES' Lauren Mayberry speaking out against the misogynistic trolls of Twitter while on Channel 4 news last month, especially at a time in music when showing the slightest interest in social issues has become something of cardinal sin.
It proved, as if we didn't already know it, that behind the Scottish trio's deceptively glossy pop sheen was a passionate and fiery intellectualism. Their debut record was a spectacular, near perfect synth driven set, brimming with crystalline melodies and '80s nous. The heavily anticipated follow-up, 'Every Open Eye', is a similarly excellent and addictive listen which aims directly for the jugular.
Some of the idiosyncrasies may have been dialled down — there's nothing here quite as eccentric as 'Lies' or as apocalyptic as 'Science/Visions' — yet it remains a thoroughly impressive effort. 'Never Ending Circles' is the ideal opener and a perfect distillation of everything CHVRCHES. Synthesisers tumble and stutter, keyboards swell, while Mayberry delivers one of her most ethereal vocals.
The stadium sized anthems 'Make Them Gold' and 'Bury It' are the band at their most streamlined, however this doesn't lessen the impact or cheapen their appeal. Recent single 'Leave A Trace' is another highlight, outrageously infectious and immediate, all centred around a gentle but persistent bass pulse.
Many will feel that the album is a little too one-note at times, although minimal and serene closer 'Afterglow' offers some interesting variation. When the songs are this joyous, though, it's difficult not to get caught up in 'Every Open Eye's intoxicating atmosphere.
CHVRCHES are a still a terrific alternative to the barrage of mind-numbing EDM and soulless euro trash of acts such as Icona Pop that permeate our airwaves and devour advertisements. Another heavenly and peerless collection from the Glaswegian synth-poppers.
Words: Luke Winstanley
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