Sound — 8
CHVRCHES (pronounced like "churches") are a synthpop trio from Scotland. The band consists of Martin Doherty (keyboards, sampler, and backup vocals), Iain Cook (keyboards, sampler, and producer), and Lauren Mayberry (lead singer and main songwriter). The trio's first album, "The Bones of What You Believe," became immensely popular because of tracks like "Gun," "Recover," and the certified gold single, "The Mother We Share." With their growing popularity over the years and their signature pop sound, CHVRCHES have attempted to continue their growth by releasing their sophomore album, "Every Eye Open."
I have been a fan of CHVRCHES since their hit single, "The Mother We Share" became a pop hit on radios everywhere. Not only did I enjoy their sound and synth pop style on "The Bones of What You Believe," but I loved Lauren Mayberry's innocent like vocals. Matched with intricate instruments from Cook and Doherty, the trio seemed like a perfect pop outfit.
CHVRCHES' new album has them showcasing their beautiful sound, but failing to experiment with original lyrical content. For example, the vocals in the beginning of "Never Ending Circles" sound almost identical to the beginning vocals in "Recover," from "The Bones of What You Believe." I feel as if CHVRCHES are just recycling songs from before, instead of finding new ways to reinvent themselves. However, in the song "High Enough to Carry You Over," CHVRCHES utilize the singing talent of Martin Doherty - a fresh change to their past musical content. Not only has Doherty's singing greatly improved from their last album, but he also adds a breathe of fresh air in the record that is a welcomed change to this album. I can also see change in songs like "Leave a Trace," "Down Side of Me," "Keep You on My Side," and "Playing Dead." Each song has it's own way of experimenting with the instrumentals or Lauren Mayberry's vocals. Even thought the instrumentals sound similar to their previous record, CHVRCHES make is work somehow with Mayberry's vocals and catchy pop beats.
Lyrics — 7
Lauren Mayberry's lyrics are definitely not something to rave over, but her beautiful and child like vocals are. On tracks like "Make Them Gold," her vocals are perfect for this pop melody. Her vocals always seem to fit perfectly with every track on this album. As for her lyrics, they are not something that stand out to me. At times she points the finger at people. Like in the track "Bury It" where she tells the person "cover up that you are ruthless" or in the track "Leave a Trace" when she also tells someone "Anything you ever did was strictly by design."
It seems like a lot of the tracks on this album are about relationships (either romantic or casual) and about the people in the relationship. Sometimes they are good, and sometimes they are bad. The lyrics make you know if it's good or bad but doesnt give you any more than just a few minor details about these relationships. I wish Mayberry's lyrics were more personal than vague. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because her lyrics work with the music, but I feel like she has the ability to tell more than just a few vague phrases.
Overall Impression — 8
CHVRCHES haven't really changed up their sound on this new record, but instead have taken their most powerful assets and improved them. Even though CHVRCHES sound exactly the same as they did as their last record, they are playing their cards right. They showed that they can still keep their sound without dulling down on the instrumentals and without holding Mayberry's vocals back. CHVRCHES have created an album that surpasses their previous album by using more pop like melodies and a signature vocalist that leads the band in their endeavours.