Going Back For Another Listen

I am still obsessed with the Scottish techno-pop trio Chvrches. I love this band! If it were possible to wear out an MP3, I would have worn out every track on their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. I love the contrast of the sharp retro-beat rhythms and Lauren Mayberry’s soft lead vocals. I love the simple-yet-complex lyrics – that take me multiple listens to “get”.

So when their second album, Every Open Eye, was released last September, I was thrilled. But then when I heard a few tracks from it, I was underwhelmed.

There were two things which turned me off about the songs of the second album. First, there was something a little more “mainstream” about the sound – something that made the songs sound more like any pop song than a Chvrches song. (I lack the understanding of music to describe what it is that sounds that way to me.)

Second (and this is what really bugged me), the two other members of the band, Ian Cook and Martin Doherty, became invisible on the second album. There were none of the terrific backing vocals that there were on the first album’s songs – like “Science/Visions”, “Lungs”, or “Now is Not the Time”, for instance. With the second album, Chvrches seemed to have become less of a trio and more of “Lauren and the band”. (This was especially true of the official video for “Leave a Trace” – the first song I heard from Every Open Eye. Except for a few, very brief, glimpses of Ian and Martin standing in silhouette, it’s nothing but Lauren.)

So, I kept going back to the first album as if the second album didn’t exist.

I especially like this performance of “Science/Visions”, from the first album:

Now, three months later, I’ve given the second album another listen, and there are three songs from Every Open Eye that I’m hooked on: “Afterglow”, “Down Side of Me”, and “Clearest Blue”.

Maybe I’m warming up to the second album. Maybe I’ll get used to Chvrches being a singer with a backup band. Or maybe, Ian and Martin will step up to the mic again.

6 thoughts on “Going Back For Another Listen

  1. Those keyboard players sure have an easy job. Turn on the sequencer, and stand there with an intense look – and basically do nothing after that.
    But, aside from that, the harmonies are excellent.

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