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CHVRCHES ‘Every Open Eye’ – Album Review

Universal (2015)

Having recently bemoaned the fact that “too many bands end up throwing away the thing people liked about them in the first place,” it should come as little shock that the second album from Scottish electro-pop trio CHVRCHES, Every Open Eye, doesn’t exactly deviate wildly from their first.

Indeed, the 80s-inspired wave of celestial synths and booming echo-laden beats that defined 2013’s The Bones of What You Believe is still the default setting here, but it’s a formula that thankfully still produces inspired results.

Opening statement of independence “Never Ending Circles,” the middle-finger mic-drop of lead single “Leave A Trace” and the punchy Giorgio Moroder-esque “Keep You on My Side” may well just be the most confident start to an album this year.

The happy sad banger “Cleanest Blue,” which appears to morph into Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” halfway through, and the rom-com euphoria of “Make Them Gold” are just as effervescent, while “Playing Dead” (“There are no silver linings in anything you say”) prove that few can do sweetly-sung melodies mixed with withering disdain better than Lauren Mayberry.

You can perhaps understand CHVRCHES’ reluctance to stray from their comfort zone, as Every Open Eye is far less captivating when they do. Performed by Martin Doherty, “High Enough to Carry You Over” is the kind of inoffensive but unremarkable low-key fare which only highlights how valuable Mayberry is to their success, while beatless closer “Afterglow” is a disappointingly flat way to close such an otherwise vibrant affair.

By offering more of the same, Every Open Eye is unlikely to convert anyone who has somehow remained immune to CHVRCHES’ charms, but those already on board will find more than enough to compensate for its lack of surprise.

4 / 5 stars     

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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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