Scottish synthpop group Chvrches shows growth with second album

Cole Highhouse and Cole Highhouse

Chvrches’ sophomore album, “Every Open Eye,” is now available to be streamed via NPR’s First Listen. The project is set to be released Sept. 25, alongside the special edition, which includes three additional songs.

The Scottish synthpop trio consists of Lauren Mayberry (lead vocals, synthesizers, samplers), Iain Cook (synthesizers, guitar, bass, vocals) and Martin Doherty (synthesizers, samplers, vocals).

Arriving almost exactly two years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album, “The Bones of What You Believe,” their newest release “Every Open Eye” showcases a significant amount of growth from the band.

The album starts off with “Never Ending Circles” and “Leave a Trace”, two of the singles released prior to the stream. In these songs Mayberry displays this new aggressive, feisty side of her voice we had not heard previously in The Bones of What You Believe. The album continues on with the very danceable “Keep You On My Side” and the begging to be sung along to song “Make Them Gold” with an abundance of 80s pop inspired scattered tings and spacious drums.

Mayberry’s vocal growth shines again through the impressive progression on “Clearest Blue”. Following this is Doherty’s sole lead vocal appearance on the album, “High Enough to Carry You Over,” a vast improvement from his not-so-memorable song on “The Bones of What You Believe.”

Placed right between two of the album’s slower songs is the fast-paced, pop anthem, “Empty Threat” preceding “Down Side of Me” which contains some of the most standout production and song structure on the record along with enjoyable vocal effects and layering.

In “Playing Dead” and “Bury It” Chvrches 80s pop influences become even more apparent. The band’s signature sounding vocal clips paired with a stunning performance by Mayberry allow for a satisfying build up to the album’s conclusion.

In the closing song “Afterglow”, without drums, alongside a simple synth pattern, Mayberry appears more vulnerable than ever. What seems to be building towards an illustrious synth-heavy climax instead fades out as Mayberry repeats the fitting statement “I’ve given up all I can”.

With “The Bones of What You Believe” being one of the most influential synthpop albums of the past decade, following it up was no easy task. In “Every Open Eye” Chvrches shows growth, while still keeping and improving on their signature sound. They proved themselves once again to be a front-runner in the world of dance-pop. With it’s punchy synths and impressive vocals “Every Open Eye” has its sights set for the top of the charts.