Thursday, September 24, 2015

Report to the Dance Floor - Chvrches : "Open Every Eye" & "Leave a Trace" Video

Funny enough I decided to break down and give Chvrches a shot a few weeks ago after hearing them brought up on the State Of the Goth Scene panel at this year's Dragon-con. While not what I consider goth they do have a more serious lyrical tone than most of today's pop music and much like Twin Shadow are an act that proves pop doesn't have to be a bad word. their last album some reviews compared it Taylor Swift's "1989". They took that as a compliment. And this might come as a surprise to readers here who normally click on for the goth/metal/ punk reviews, but I have gained an appreciation for Swifts last two albums. The hooks are addictive and the same can be said for Chvrches. Lauren Mayberry continues to ooze with the same youthful glee that Swift also possesses, the difference being more lyrical as Mayberry doesn't always have to be the protagonist in her songs. She has little regret for not always being nice claiming on "Leave a Trace" that she is as sane as she ever was. Mayberry might make you dance , but she didn't show up to the studio trying to start a party.

Often more metaphoric their lyrics are much like their music as it has more complex layers than Swift's. Compared to their previous album there are no drastic changes, a little more of an 80s slant to parts of "Make Them Gold" . "Clearest Blue" was one of the lead singles off this album that has been on the inner webs for some time. I don't listen to the radio, so I am unsure if Chvrches gets much air time in cities aside from New York and LA, but I can see this song being too angular in some places to neatly fit next to Katy Perry on the dial. Part of this is they don't follow the trends , but make their own and this doesn't have any hip-hop under tones, it's very white electronica.

The male vocals are more soulful and poppy than they were on the last album, but it's hard to argue against the fact that the are much improved from the previous album and have an almost Twin Shadow quality to them.Then they slap a new coat of sugar on the pop formula with "Empty Threat". The tempo picks up on the chorus and then its the expand and contract formula from there. Not the album's strongest song, but it's not bad and better than most of the stuff on the radio. The beat gets funky as in odd not James Brown on "Down Side of Me". The male vocals add texture in manner more reminiscent of the previous album. I would not say this is a ballad , but moving in that direction. The continue to color outside of the lines, taking on a more 80s pop sound on "Playing Dead".  Her voice fits well in the grooves making it one of the albums stronger songs. The samples wedged into the song give it more kick.

There is more of a quirky new wave feel...think Gary Numan, to "Bury It". The beats are more fuzzed out and while not comparable to Nine Inch Nails , they carry more punch that most pop. The album closes with "Afterglow" which does indulge itself in balladry. This song is pleasant but is not crucial to the album. They slightly face a refrain of sorts at the end. I'll around this one up to a 9.5 , It might have been a ten if I had written off the last song as an outro, but for the sake of this review it was intended to be a song that stands on its own two feet. Some of these songs might grow on me, most pop music creeps up on me over time. Fans will not be disappointed if they liked the last album.

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