Words by Sinead Nolan
CHVRCHES have a sound that is both undeniably retro and futuristic. The Scottish synthpop trio released their debut album The Bones of What You Believe two years ago, selling over twelve thousand copies in its first week of sales. Featuring the haunting voice of frontwoman Lauren Mayberry, and the catchy vocal loops and use of synthesisers by Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, the album made the top 15 in the Aussie charts.
Though the album carries a notably similar sound to their previous work, its edgy rhythm and raw vocals leave loyal fans and new listeners without a trace of disappointment. the self-produced album demonstrates strong influences of ’80s female-fronted synth-pop, like Kate Bush, Whitney Houston and Cyndi Lauper, a solid nod to the era of neon colours and permed hair.
The punchy opening song Never Ending Circles prompts an upbeat mood in the minds of listeners, preparing them for the next few tracks that are equally energetic and fun. Although resembling a combination of Purity Ring’s Push Pull and Kavinsky’s Nightcall, CHVRCHES have an original electro-pop sound that makes the listener want to get up and move.
On the other hand, the album does have its own heartfelt, slower songs.
The bittersweet closing song, Afterglow, plays grand synthesised sounds under Mayberry’s quivery, almost protesting, vocals. The lyrics are sombre and chilling, closing with ‘I’ve given up all I can’.
Ultimately, Every Open Eye shows that there’s something about 80s-style synthesisers, raw emotional vocals and a heavy beat that just works.
CHVRCHES will be coming down under to perform at Laneway Festival early next year!