[one_half last=”no”]
Every Open Eye

NBHAP Rating: 2/5


[one_half last=”yes”]CHVRCHES
Every Open Eye

Release-Date: 25.09.2015
Label: Universal Music

01. Never Ending Circles
02. Leave A Trace
03. Keep You On My Side
04. Make Them Gold
05. Clearest Blue
06. High Enough To Carry You Over
07. Empty Threat
08. Down Side Of Me
09. Playing Dead
10. Bury It
11. Afterglow




When everybody wants a piece of you

Let’s face it. Even if you’re trying to avoid it, there was no way of escaping Scottish synthpop three-piece CHVRCHES in the course of 2013. Their hits were just too irresistible and crafted. Well-composed little pop gems that felt so easy-going and unforced as if they were never intended to top the charts although they obviously got all the potential to do so. The Bones Of What You Believe became the consensus pop record of the summer and charismatic and intelligent lead singer Lauren Mayberry pretty much everybody’s darling (unfortunately also for plenty of misogynistic internet trolls). The expectations are high for the follow-up Every Open Eye which the band recorded pretty quickly following the end of a massive global tour. Hasty reaction or logical consequence?

Playing it safe

Right from the first note of Never Ending Circles Mayberry and her two fellow gentlemen leave no doubt that they are playing it save on Every Open Eye. The second CHVRCHES full-length continues right where the first one left us. The Scottish three-piece continues its formula of radio-friendly synthpop with a certain bittersweet undertone in its lyrical content. Once again, Lauren Mayberry sings songs about failed love and romantic disappointment while at the same time representing herself as a tough fighter, one that doesn’t let a broken heart bring her down. Iain Cook and Martin Doherty deliver a heavy electronic environment of pumping beats and electronics elements in constant motion, repeating the same sound scheme as on the debut. So, everything’s back in place on Every Open Eye but, unfortunately less fascinating than on the first album.

No surprises, no motivation

The Bones Of What You Believe had its quality in its instant hit singles and the unique sound formula. Both elements are clearly lacking on its follow-up. The sound is a 1:1 repetition of the debut with barely any new elements in it. Far too often the hits feel forced, drifting in a far too cheesy direction like Make Them Gold or Clearest Blue (which almost references DEPECHE MODE‘s Just Can’t Get Enough). Leave a Trace feels like a poor man’s attempt to re-create the feeling of The Mother We Share while songs like Playing Dead and Bury It try to be the new Gun or Recover but fail to succeed. They are just really mediocre. CHVRCHES are best when they leave the path of safety like when Martin Doherty sings High Enough To Carry You Over or they slow down the tempo on Down Side Of Me. The finest moment on the record is also its final one: The floating ambient pop piece Afterglow finally risks to move away from the formula and is a beautiful exception to the rule, making us wish there was more bravery on Every Open Eye. You can almost sense the pressure the band must have been facing while recording this album. Maybe a bit more time, ideas and bravery would have prevented it from becoming so mediocre.

CHVRCHES’ second album Every Open Eye copies the success formula of their debut, resulting in a predictable and less exciting record.