Locking themselves away to write, record and produce seems to have paid off - Chvrches have come into their own with their second album, Every Open Eye. The Scottish electronic trio have taken the best aspects from their debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, and improved upon them to carve out their signature sound.
Every Open Eye is bursting with electro synth-pop powered energy, laced with a dark twist.
Lead singer Lauren Mayberry's light melodic vocals float over samplers, bass and synthesisers. The album's lyrics lean towards solemn - often reflecting on the end of a relationship - but are thrown in contrast against the fast-paced, heart-pumping beats. Chvrches have created a body of incredibly catchy songs, walking the line of pop hooks that easily get stuck in your head and an indie electronic appeal that sets them apart from the mainstream.
The album's first track, Never Ending Circles, sets an exciting, appetising tone for the rest of the album with its stomping beat, followed by the defiant Leave A Trace. The punchy Bury It and Keep You On My Side lift the tempo - with hard beats, echoing modulated vocals and swift synth keys.
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Clearest Blue's drop is perfect to let loose to, while Make Them Gold feels satisfyingly like an inspirational 80s theme song.
The intensity is stripped right back for High Enough To Carry You Over. It is a slight shock to the system hearing Martin Doherty's gravelly singing, a stark juxtaposition to Mayberry's pixie-like voice - but as soon as you get to the pre-chorus the song proves it belongs on the album.
The few other slower songs have a definite gentleness to them. Afterglow's spacious and airy simplicity builds beautifully then dissolves again, drawing similarities to French act M83.
Chvrches have hit all the right notes with this release - a magical blend of playful, energised music and downbeat heartfelt lyrics.
Album: Every Open Eye (Out Friday)
Verdict: Playful synth-pop with a dark twist