Chvrches arrival on the music scene in 2013 was a wonderful thing. Their debut, The Bones of What You Believe, was one of the finest electronic pop albums since the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Behaviour’, and the fact that not only Britain, but America and the rest of the world embraced it was no surprise.
I remember reading that the band’s touring campaign for that album brought to mind Depeche Mode’s 1987/88 Music For The Masses tour both in terms of the length of the tour and the impact it caused the band to have in America, as comparisons go, I think that’s an apt one. The thing is though, Depeche Mode followed Music For The Masses with the all conquering Violator. Chvrches may not be quite at that point in their career yet, but Every Open Eye is a significant step towards it
On first listen, Every Open Eye sounds familiar to The Bones Of What You Believe but repeated listens reveal more and more to each song, overall the album is more of a complete package than the band’s debut. The production is crisper, the beats more in your face and Lauren’s vocals, superb throughout, and much more to the fore. Opener Never Ending Circles demonstrates this perfectly, it’s a superb start to the album.
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The exquisite Leave A Trace follows, already a Chvrches classic and a masterclass in electronic pop music and it gives way to the frantic but joyous Keep You On My Side which has echoes of Giorgio Moroder in its bassine. It’s a hugely impressive opening triumvirate. The album’s poppiest moment Make Them Gold is next. It has hit single written all over it with it’s chorus, an instant classic.
The excitement that greeted news of this album is completely justified by the incredible Clearest Blue. Starting off as a moody slice of electronics, at around 2 minutes 12 seconds it all kicks off as Lauren sings “Will you meet me halfway up?” a whole world of synths go crazy. It’s one of those moments that you can’t help but love and the same can be said for the song itself. Martin Doherty then takes over on vocals for High Enough To Carry You Over, as with Lauren’s vocals, his voice is far more prominent that on his previous lead vocal tracks. He also sounds far more confident too which is a good thing. The song itself is great and has a distinct 80’s feel to it which works nicely. Empty Threat and the R&B flavoured Down Side Of Me don’t quite work as well as the earlier tracks as they don’t have their snap or punch but it’s only a minor blip, as the last three tracks on the album are outstanding.
Playing Dead is a stormer of a song, bringing to mind those moments where the likes of Depeche Mode or New Order merge dance music with dark electronics and it has a chorus any band their salt would kill for. That is bettered however by another of the album’s standouts Bury It. What a song. It’s like an updated Yazoo track, albeit an angry one having a fight on a dancefloor. It’s absolutely superb. The album then ends on the highest of high notes with Afterglow which is a slow, moody track undeprinned by glorious waves of electronic noise – a perfect end to an excellent album
Every Open Eye is certainly a step onwards from The Bones of What You Believe and it hones what was already something quite wonderful into a tighter, brighter and more confident sound. It’s destined to be a huge success and, whilst it might not be Chrvches, Violator, the kind of success that album brought Depeche Mode is surely much, much closer for Chvrches