[REVIEW] Chvrches - Every Open Eye
When Lauren Mayberry isn’t busy putting misogynistic assholes in their rightful place, you can find her on another plane of existence along with the rest of Chvrches (multi-instrumentalists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty) as they bless us all with infectious electronic bangers. This blessing has recently manifested itself in the form of the band’s sophomore album, Every Open Eye. A combination of tantalizing synth hooks, clever beats, and emotionally-charged lyrics, Chvrches has delivered once again with their usual finesse and charm. The signature filigree quality of Mayberry’s voice infuses every song with a dreamy, iridescent quality. From start to finish, the album is so pure and crystalline that each tune slices you right in the jugular—but you won’t complain in the slightest.
Winning critics and audiences over with their acclaimed debut album, The Bones Of What We Believe, there were high expectations for the Scottish trio to meet. In Every Open Eye, the sounds are more complex, the instruments more diverse, and the songs a whole lot bigger.
The album feels unrelenting and honest, bursting with themes of emotional pain, healing and surviving in between the two states. The album is a carefully curated repertoire of desperate pleas and resolute defiance that documents the journey through a meaningful romantic relationship. There is pain, but it is far from the cry of the wounded. The album swells—almost cinematically—with strength and synth twirls, consuming you with spine-tingling shivers and glimmering epiphanies. Songs are unhinged and vulnerable, but also self-reliant and redemptive.
Despite being filled with great singles (“Leave A Trace”, “Make Them Gold”, “Down Side of Me”), its strongest (and my favourite) has got to be “Clearest Blue.” The song builds up until it finally releases with Mayberry’s plea of “Will you meet me more than halfway up?” It’s easy for anyone to identify with the plead for compromise and understanding, but the lucidity of Mayberry’s voice over the hard edges of the tune makes it even more vivid. A few songs later in “Bury It,” she boasts pride and self-confidence. There is no space here for emotional obfuscation. These songs will wrap you up in a wave of emotions that will prove to be invigorating, cathartic and perhaps even a little healing.
One of the album’s criticisms (if you could even call it that) lies in the repetitive nature of certain songs, or the redundancy of their upbeat style. Though this is their self-defining factor, the repetition could prove to be overwhelming if you’re not in the right mood. This, however, is extremely minor compared to the abundance of refreshing buoyancy that the rest of the album offers.
The most exemplary quality of Every Open Eye is the generosity and openness of its songs. Their lucidity and sharpness will stun you. While at first glance this may seem just to be another solid electronic record, it is an expertly crafted chronicle of the ups and downs of human relationships. Chvrches manages to merge a cavalcade of electronic beats and thoughtful lyrics to take this album—and their artistry—to another level.