At the end of 2013 I devoted a bit of time to searching out the best debut albums of the year. One of the best debut albums I found was Chvrches‘ The Bones of What You Believe. The album, though not the most unique or revolutionary, had some incredibly fun and catchy songs. Not the type of catchy that quickly becomes annoying, but the sort of catchy that you find yourself humming and always craving another listen. The first album is a pleasurable experience from start to finish and has a first song that is good enough alone to keep you coming back to the album again and again. I wasn’t alone in this reception, and it is understandable that their second release would be one of the most hyped albums of the year. After giving it a few spins, I think it is safe to say that for Every Open Eye the hype is warranted.
The synth-pop sound of the first album hasn’t changed much for Every Open Eye. It maybe goes a little heavier on the pop vibes, but as a whole any song from Every Open Eye could appear on The Bones Of What You Believe and it would fit in perfectly. That being said, this album is easily as strong as the first and there seems to be more great singles and potential singles. It is consistently good throughout, with more than a few tracks that are likely to bounce around in your head for the next few days. A lack of evolution from album to album isn’t a bad thing, but over an extended catalog their sound might get a bit stale. With only two albums in their discography, Chvrches are far from going stale. Every Open Eye replicates the sounds of the first album and helps to establish that Chvrches‘ early success wasn’t a fluke.
As time wore on I found that I would return to the same three or four tracks on The Bones Of What You Believe. I still enjoy the entirety of the work, but I only occasionally give it a start-to-finish listen. I foresee a similar treatment with LP 2. The tracks “Leave A Trace”, “Clearest Blue”, “Playing Dead” and “High Enough To Carry You Over” are all great and memorable, but some of the later tracks are a bit more forgettable. I was most surprised by “High Enough To Carry You Over”, which is the only song that doesn’t feature Lauren Mayberry on vocals. She kind of seems to be the focus and centerpiece of the band, but I found using a different vocalist on at least one song to be a refreshing diversification to their work. I don’t mean to say that Lauren Mayberry’s vocals are a negative, quite the opposite. Mayberry shows on each track that she has an amazing voice, which is best showcased on the closer “Afterglow”.
Looking at the whole album, it seems to be a very same-y but possibly a better reproduction of their first work. If you enjoy synth-pop or even just pop I have no doubt that you would greatly enjoy this new release. After about four listens (thanks to an early stream on NPR) I’d say I’m satisfied with Every Open Eye. Though their sound hasn’t developed much, I’m optimistic that Chvrches will continue to release impressive albums. With Mayberry’s online presence and political activism, they seem poised to become even more well known and universally admired. The band is a useful vehicle for Lauren to fight for her beliefs, such as her bringing to light issues such as online misogyny. It is sad to think these are issues she or any one is forced to deal and with her public image it seems only more likely that these actions will be directed at her. Her strong voice and talents both on stage and off are likely to make her a great role model (which I would possibly argue she already is). I think Chvrches future is bright and I suspect that both Lauren Mayberry and Chvrches will one day soon be a household name. I give Every Open Eye a 5 out of 5.