Album review: Chvrches’ ‘Every Open Eye’

Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Chvrches Every Open Eye

Scottish trio Chvrches launched its career by releasing the karate-chopping electro single “Lies” and the dreamier “The Mother We Share,” both of which announced the band as one of the most exciting, original acts in the synth-pop continuum. But 2013 debut The Bones of What You Believe felt slight and lacked energy, as if it had been rushed to capitalize on momentum.

On second album Every Open Eye, Chvrches recapture that early spark, while signaling a clean break from the past: “No more bones and I will tell you no lies,” frontwoman Lauren Mayberry asserts on the glittering opening track, “Never Ending Circles.” “This time, you know I’ll leave.” That confidence permeates the rest of Every Open Eye. Chvrches’ songwriting feels far more focused and deliberate, allowing the band to explore new territory (retrofuturistic R&B ripple “Down Side of Me,” frothy new-wave fever dream “Empty Threat”) and refine its ringing techno-pop. The slippery-mercury EDM-pop of “Make Them Gold” and “Keep You on My Side” sounds transcendent, while the blocky hopscotch-electro “Bury It” and insistent “Clearest Blue”—the latter of which surges into a frenetic digital breakdown—are primed for the dancefloor.

Sophomore slump? Chvrches are having none of that.

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