CHVRCHES
Every Open Eye


3.5
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
October 1st, 2015 | 628 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chvrches craft a focused and energetic follow up to their celebrated debut, and perhaps even top it in the process.

When Chvrches crashed the indie-pop party of 2013, a couple of things became apparent. The first was that Lauren Mayberry is absolutely adorable, and the second is that she’s a damn good musician who deserves nothing but our collective respect. To go along with her law degree and masters in journalism, she has the ideal voice for the group’s upbeat brand of electro-pop…and with only one album under her belt, she has already put it to tremendous use. The Bones of What You Believe was worth all of the exclamatory praise that it so effortlessly gathered, and the mega-hit ‘The Mother We Share’ blazed a unique mainstream path for a band that had seemingly just come into existence. Even if all of Chvrches’ early success placed them in a how will we ever top this type of conundrum approaching their sophomore release, it was a damn good problem to have. That’s where Every Open Eye enters, offering up an even more consistent version of its predecessor while giving us a new batch of unforgettable melodies to bask in for the foreseeable future.

Every Open Eye is a textbook sophomore record in that it focuses on refining the band’s existing strengths as opposed to the opening of new doors. Although Bones may hold the edge in categories like eclecticism, it’s quite possible that Every Open Eye is actually the better of the two albums. There is no overarching peak to the extent of ‘The Mother We Share’, but there is also no gap in the level of quality – which is something that couldn’t necessarily be said about the previous installment. This album feels smoother, sleeker, and more comfortable in its own skin. Not only is it apparent in the record’s ability to flow, but you can also hear it in Mayberry’s voice. Lines like “I’m chasing the sky more than you ever will” exude a sense of poise and unabashed confidence, all of which are signs that Chvrches have truly come into their own – ready, able, and willing to accomplish anything they set their sights upon.

In this case, they focused their vision on an upbeat, always-on-the-rise album filled to the brim with infectious melodies. ‘Keep You On My Side’ is the perfect encapsulation of Every Open Eye, thriving on a spirited rhythm and dynamic backbeats that dare you not to get up and move. ‘Clearest Blue’ matches energy with beauty, as Mayberry’s earnest pleas to “meet me halfway” sound as sincere as anything she’s ever sung. The way the song eventually explodes into a full synth/dance-pop breakdown is one of the highlights of Chvrches’ young discography, and it proves that the band isn’t afraid to stop straddling genre boundaries and dive head-first into an atmosphere when the occasion calls for it. There’s no shortage of noteworthy moments here, from Mayberry’s impressive display of range control on ‘Leave a Trace’ to the light industrial feel brought forth by the band during the sullen opening minute of ‘Down Side of Me.’ Amidst all of these clear peaks are also a few little moments that make the whole experience feel more personalized. ‘High Enough to Carry You Over’ – for example – is a beautiful gem that features Doherty’s vocals as a welcome change from the status quo. From start to finish, Every Open Eye presents us with intriguing atmospheres, powerful melodies, and boundless energy.

The drawback to all of this excitement rests squarely within the arena of experimentation because, frankly, there is very little. One might venture to assert that Chvrches’ sound is original by nature because it fuses elements of emo, synth, electronics, and pop in an effortless and widely acclaimed fashion – which isn’t wrong – but those elements all existed prior to the release of Every Open Eye. Growth certainly occurs here, especially in Lauren Mayberry’s vocals and lyrical skills, but stylistically this is still The Bones of What You Believe 2.0. Whether or not this matters will vary from listener to listener, but the fact that there’s nothing here that you haven’t already heard in some capacity is mildly disappointing. Through all of their confident and forthright forward marching, Chvrches don’t take quite enough detours or question themselves nearly enough to qualify this as anything other than a retread – even if it’s an extremely pleasant one. Nitpicking between the virtues of a band finding its sound or pushing experimental boundaries is always a double edged sword because so rarely are both simultaneously accomplished, and in this case we get one hell of a memorable – however safe – album. When you consider the overall quality and consistency we get in return, though, it turns out to be a worthwhile tradeoff. It probably couldn’t be summed up better than by Mayberry herself (albeit unintentionally) via her penning of the lines “we feel the same (payin’ back our chances, payin’ back what we take), without restraint / we feel the same within our veins.”

Every Open Eye proves Chvrches to be a band that hones in on its strengths, develops them, and uses those strengths to consistently release quality material. There was actually a recent interview with Grantland in which Lauren Mayberry coined their sound as “emo with synths” and then proceeded to talk about Jimmy Eat World – one of her influences growing up as a teen. It may be just a couple of quotes from an entire podcast, but they feel incredibly relevant when you look at the path Chvrches has taken. They may not be the most groundbreaking artist of all time, but they recognize the fact that most bands aren’t – and that it is okay to just be the best you. Mayberry and company have now released two very successful albums while remaining committed to a sound that they’re intent on refining to perfection…and as long as they continue down that path, there’s little doubt that’s exactly where they’ll arrive.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2015


19143 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

great album

Keyblade
October 1st 2015


28299 Comments


i bet this is boring as hell

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2015


19143 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

biggest challenge for this group is to actually change up their sound

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 1st 2015


32737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Agreed Fripp, although I also think that the sound they have right now is really good.

Digging: Low Roar - ross.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2015


19143 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

it's like the new Beach House, these guys are playing it way too safe.

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 1st 2015


32737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

The new Beach House was flat out boring, at least this album is fun.

chaywa
October 1st 2015


81 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I must admit on first listen I was really under-impressed and thought they were playing it far too safe. But on third and fourth listen I really started to appreciate the intricacies and refinement of the album as a whole and saw that Jimmy Eat World style evolution come through.



I think it lacks a showstopper or two later in the album (Leave A Trace is probably the best song) but it's a solid, fun album that I'll be listening to for a while.

Krvst
October 1st 2015


474 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

In no way does this top their first. Synths sound weak.

theBoneyKing
October 1st 2015


17739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review Sowing, I agree with basically all your points.

"Leave a Trace", "Make Them Gold", "Clearest Blue", "Empty Threat" and "Down Side of Me" are my favorites here.

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

Gyromania
October 1st 2015


28958 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"and perhaps even top it in the process."



hell. no.

Keyblade
October 1st 2015


28299 Comments


they need more bass in their tunes for real. they sound so weak

AngryJohnny
October 1st 2015


964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agree with almost all of what you said. Nothing here tops 'The Mother We Share' but I think it's a more consistent package overall than the last one.



'Never Ending Circles' needs some love

Gyromania
October 1st 2015


28958 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"they need more bass in their tunes for real. they sound so weak"



lol

ProjectFreak
October 1st 2015


3975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

" Nothing here tops 'The Mother We Share' but I think it's a more consistent package overall than the last one."



I might pick "Leave a Trace" over Mother, but mostly this album just has no bad songs. It's definitely not original, and I hope they pick up the darker vibes that were occasionally on Bones (Science/Visions, for instance) on album #3. But this is super fun

ProjectFreak
October 1st 2015


3975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

in other news, can't wait to see Sowing go for the "this album is pretty but safe" trifecta

Pangea
October 1st 2015


3187 Comments


Gotta check. I liked the bones of what you believe quite a bit

insanedrexl1
October 1st 2015


1205 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lovely album.

RivalSkoomaDealer
October 1st 2015


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This just sounds like a watered down version of Bones imo.



Great review though Sowing, sorry I keep bringing my negative opinion into your review threads. lol

Digging: Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race

zaruyache
October 1st 2015


21610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"but mostly this album just has no bad songs."



the closing track is kinda underwhelming as a closing track and I always skip the one where the dude sings, but other than that it's pretty consistent.

Digging: Blue Noise - Everyone Goes Away Eventually

Nrap
October 1st 2015


419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agree with the comparison to the beach house album. both are just more of the same. However this is def more entertaining than depression cherry. I really wanted to like it but it turned me into a narcoleptic. This is at least fun to listen to, but sounds like side 2 if Bones was a double LP.



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