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By Derek Baker, October 13 2015 —

Scottish synth-pop trio CHVRCHES burst onto the indie-electronic music scene in 2013 with their stunning debut album, The Bones of What We Believe. The group returns with Every Open Eye, the long-awaited follow-up to their first album.

CHVRCHES’ first release was a poppy collection that featured occasional excursions into darker territories. But on Every Open Eye, the band recommits to pop music, focusing almost entirely on catchy hooks and infectious synths.

The album opens with a powerful one-two punch. Opener “Never Ending Circles” marks a confident and triumphant return. Lead single “Leave a Trace” follows, depicting a smothering boyfriend that lead singer Lauren Mayberry describes as the “nastiest, snidest tune” on the album. Those emotions shine through and make “Leave a Trace” an album highlight.ENT_CHVRCHESCover

“Clearest Blue” follows shortly after with a blend of yearning lyrics and cheerful instrumentals. The track flawlessly captures the mood of the album, making it the finest work on Every Open Eye.

Other standouts include “Empty Threat” and “Playing Dead.” The former glides by with blissful synthesizer arrangements while the latter deals with a negative relationship by denying it ever happened. It’s a powerful cut and Mayberry belts it out brilliantly.

Instrumentalist Martin Doherty takes over vocals from Mayberry for mid-album track “High Enough to Carry You Over,” but fails to carry the same energy in his voice.

The only exception to the album’s dominantly upbeat nature is “Afterglow,” a raw track that appropriately finishes off the high-energy record.

The album’s quality is a testament to the effort the band puts into their craft. CHVRCHES wrote and recorded the album in just five months, despite touring constantly since releasing their debut. But even with a rushed schedule, the album remains confidently polished.

Every Open Eye is an electrically charged piece of work. It was tough for their sophomore effort to match the quality of their debut, but CHVRCHES improves on their own style.

CHVRCHES are a budding powerhouse in the genre and Every Open Eye is undoubtedly one of this year’s best albums.

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