CHVRCHES
Screen Violence


3.5
great

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (88 Reviews)
August 27th, 2021 | 164 replies


Release Date: 08/27/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh, hey, they're good again!

It seems rather difficult and unfair to understand Screen Violence without discussing its predecessor, 2018’s Love Is Dead. But, frankly, I really don’t want to think about that album more than necessary, so let’s keep it short and simple:

Love Is Dead was a shallow and poorly written album.

Okay, great, time to dig into Chvrches’ new album: thankfully, it’s an actually interesting body of work. Opener ‘Asking For A Friend’ sets Screen Violence’s tone brilliantly: it bears all the innocent charm of the band’s previous accomplishments while adding darker, more expansive touches. Lauren Mayberry’s crystal clear vocals cut through bouncy synths; her words carrying the same weight as the impressively organic beats and electronic flourishes. Clocking in at five minutes, ‘Asking For A Friend’ feels delightfully weightless, and, most importantly, effortless. It expertly employs the easily misused stylistic device of repetition to the song’s benefit, tying an uplifting middle section of repeated “You still matter / You still matter” gorgeously into its closing chants of “Home / Can we go? / Can we go?”. Chvrches sound like they care again, and as a direct result, the band sound like they matter again.

Thankfully, this organic feeling is carried throughout most of the album. ‘California’ is a wonderfully breezy track, finding its footing in shimmering synths and effective drum work, solidifying a uniquely grounded type of dream pop. Elsewhere, ‘Nightmares’ showcases an even greater influence of alternative music, blasting through ominous sections guided by the intensity of each easily distinguishable instrument. Enhanced by the rich production, Mayberry’s voice is as demanding as all that surrounds: simultaneously ethereal and energetic, yet entirely urgent and immersive at all times. As such, her vocals single handedly carry Screen Violence’s weaker moments. While ‘He Said She Said’ isn’t a bad track on its own merits, it feels out of place as it rests too heavily on simplicity. The song’s chorus is condensed and instantly memorable, yet appears to be its only asset: there are no particularly interesting instrumentals or verses to lend ‘He Said She Said’ notable moments. While it works perfectly fine as a single, the song falters in the context of the record.

Screen Violence’s centerpiece may just be the album’s most fully realised track, while simultaneously adding a much needed extra element by way of Robert Smith’s guest vocals (yes, that Robert Smith). His tones introduce an intriguing component to the already expansive ‘How Not To Drown’, a brooding number that sinks its teeth into an infectious chorus while ensuring longevity through its layered verses and chillingly dreamy outro. It’s a song that succeeds due to Chvrches’ willingness to go the extra mile: it delivers on the promises of its mysterious first notes. As such, the song works as much in Screen Violence’s favour as it highlights certain issues with the record: while every song is at the very least good, few are as excellently engaging as they evidently could have been. It makes the album feel somewhat transitional - and I sincerely hope I’m correct here - as it opens up a world of opportunities for the band to explore on future projects.

Nonetheless, Screen Violence is a very good project. It’s the sound of a band giving a damn about music again, evident in just about every corner of the record. ‘Better If You Don’t’ shows a degree of self awareness the band have only ever hinted at before, with the album’s closing lyrics including poignant yet hazy contemplations of change: “I've been gone and notice every change / And some of them arе not our friends / And some of them arе still our friends but dead”. The song is an effectively simplistic conclusion to an album that proves Lauren Mayberry and co. have something left to say, and, most importantly, inspires hope and excitement for what’s still to come. At its best, Screen Violence is punchy, complex and organic; at its worst, it leaves you wondering what the next song - or album - will entail.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2021


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not sure if 3.5 or 4 but definitely good yes thank god (which is funny bc chvrches lolgetit)

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Pikazilla
August 27th 2021


19123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoa, I actually enjoyed the couple songs I heard off this



And this is coming from someone who thinks debut is total dross



Nice one, jesp

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2021


14765 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

epic cha-vurches moment

Prancer
August 27th 2021


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Violent Delights might be the best song they've done

DoofDoof
August 27th 2021


10544 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this intrigued me a bit

BrushedRed
August 27th 2021


3481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah. Loving this. I was leery of it when it was first announced but after the singles, I figured it was gonna be good. Yep, I’d say this is their best and Violent Delights is absolutely a highlight for sure. Makes Love Is Dead feel even more like an oddball in their discography

Toolbag
August 27th 2021


5548 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFB4z5RWHCc

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anarchistfish
August 27th 2021


29409 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

https://youtu.be/QgXObaM9i2Q

Digging: Knocked Loose - A Tear in the Fabric of Life

Cormano
August 27th 2021


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im excite

Divaman
August 27th 2021


12844 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've deliberately stayed away from the singles so the whole album will be a surprise to me.

Digging: As December Falls - Happier.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2021


9113 Comments


oh they make gud music again? damn.

lovely rev as (jes)per usual boyo

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Romulus
August 27th 2021


9044 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

loved the first two songs but it's trailed off from there for me - still, good stuff

anarchistfish
August 27th 2021


29409 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah it's good but doesn't top the debut. Robert Smith track is my fave I think

ThyCrossAwaits
August 27th 2021


3607 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This made me so happy to find out the record was actually good. Best kind of surprise.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2021


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

luv u dedex

and yea same i'm v glad this doesn't suck, was scared they'd double down on the love is dead sound after lauren took the negative reviews.. really well

CriticalMyth
August 27th 2021


30 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoying this one, much better than the previous release.



Nikkolae
August 27th 2021


5979 Comments


i feel their best albums are when Lauren really puts her heart in it and that's what was missing in Love Is Dead, this is sounding pretty good.

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Illusory Walls

Sowing
Moderator
August 27th 2021


39291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is good but still not on the level of their first two albums. I think people are buying in extra hard because of how poor the last effort was.

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JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 27th 2021


3440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh yeah for sure, they didn't have to do much to top that one and since they put in a little extra effort this finds itself in a much more favourable light lol. not complaining tho

Sowing
Moderator
August 27th 2021


39291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah me neither. This has some bangers.



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