The recent resurgence of late 80’s-inspired synthpop in popular music is in no small part due to CHVRCHES’s 2013 debut “The Bones of What You Believe.” Even the omnipresent Taylor Swift has experimented with the genre. “Out of The Woods,” from Swift’s latest record, “1989,” would easily have a place on “Bones” with its blaring synths and frantically repetitive chorus. So what is there to do when even the most influential woman in pop takes cues from your music? You get even better.
If “Bones” was largely an exercise in experimentation, CHVRCHES’s latest record, “Every Open Eye,” is a clear indicator that they’ve secured their songwriting formula and are sticking to it. Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry’s strong yet lilting voice carries the record from the steady, headstrong opener “Never Ending Circles” to the gorgeous, subdued “Afterglow.” Mayberry’s lyrical talents continue to be one of the band’s greatest creative assets, delivering stunning, cutthroat lines like “I am chasing the skyline much more than you ever will” and “Take care to bury all that you can/take care to leave a trace of a man.”
Despite its commitment to the CHVRCHES brand, there are glimpses of a more varied sound at work on “Every Open Eye.” Martin Doherty, who also contributed lead vocals to two tracks on the band’s debut album, takes over for Mayberry on the stripped down “High Enough to Carry You Over,” as well as the bonus track “Follow You.” While Mayberry is unarguably the band’s most prominent creative engineer, some of “Every Open Eye’s” most affecting songs see her take a back seat. No matter which direction they may take, there are volumes of untapped potential for CHVRCHES as a band and as a revolutionary concept for a music industry in desperate need of innovation. If its two excellent records are any indication, CHVRCHES could very well be on its way to becoming one of the most transformative creators of music in this decade.