Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Newest Album ‘Screen Violence’ Shows Us CHVRCHES Are Certainly Not Past Their Prime

Glaswegian born and bred - Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty make up the synth-pop powerhouse CHVRCHES. 

After finding success on SoundCloud in the early 2010s, the trio shot into mainstream success with smash hit ‘The Mother We Share’ in 2013 and garnered masses of critical acclaim from their debut LP ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ the same year. 

Releasing now a further three LPs, CHVRCHES are known for insanely catchy hooks, complex melodies and all-consuming synths and with their latest effort ‘Screen Violence’ released earlier this week, they remind us of what they do best. 

Mayberry was the main lyricist for ‘Screen Violence’, and although sonically this band has not diverted massively from their roots, the themes and depth of their lyrics have certainly matured on this record. 

Rather than covering the stereotypical pop themes of love and heartbreak, Mayberry has drawn from her experiences as a woman in the music industry to explore the sad reality of the extra barriers she has to face. 

In interviews, she has expressed her disdain for being scalded for being ‘too scantily clad’ on stage and received an influx of hate and death threats online for publicly shunning Marshmello, an EDM artist they had previously worked with on single ‘Here With Me’, for later working with Chris Brown, who was arrested after infamously attacking Rihanna in 2009. 

Having been very vocal about misogyny in the past, Lauren scrutinises this further, notably in the track ‘Final Girl’. Linking to the album title, Mayberry discusses the higher standard to which women are held through the typical horror trope of a Final Girl, whereby one of the female protagonists are the last to survive and is used as a tool to confront the villain and bait a sequel for a franchise. 

“And I wonder if I should've changed my accent / Tried to make myself more attractive /Only time will tell” 

Horror is an interwoven theme throughout this LP, with the feature from The Cure’s frontman Robert Smith on track ‘How Not To Drown’ is a true showing of this. Known for his melancholic yet emotionally saturated vocals, Smith does not disappoint on this five-and-a-half-minute track that encapsulates the feeling of anxiety and loneliness. Although fantastic individually, this song is really brought to a new level when Smith and Mayberry’s vocals mesh together in the second half, before the instrumental coming to a crescendo leading the song into a haunting finish with Smith. Truly a stand-out on the record, ‘How Not To Drown’ is a triumphant collaboration from the trio. 

CHVRCHES are back at what they do best, after disappointing fans with their third album, ‘Love Is Dead’, they have ditched outside producers and come back stronger than ever. ‘Screen violence’ plays to their strengths and signature sound but shows a lot of growth and maturity for the band. This Scottish trio is certainly back on track and will hopefully continue to impress with future projects. 

Ellie Callaghan 


Image: 'Screen Violence' Official Album Cover (Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC)

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