CHVRCHES 2018 02 - please credit Danny Clinch (1)
Danny Clinch

Although their ever-youthful sound may lead you to believe otherwise, the spellchecker-defying electronic trio have reached the end of a long journey in terms of creative output on their third album; Love is Dead. 

The LP is heavy with hints that Chvrches have matured, becoming more and more jaded with the climate within which they live, as the spoiler title suggests. Throughout its 13 tracks, Love Is Dead flickers between parallels within the band’s personal romantic lives and the bigger picture of disillusion present in the world today. 

In the song ‘Graves’, vocalist Lauren Mayberry touches upon the lack of empathy that she has seen in society as of late. “They’re leaving bodies in stairwells and washing up on the shore/you can look away while they’re dancing on our graves/if you don’t have a heart I can offer you mine,” conjuring up famous images of drowned Syrian refugees that were found on beaches in 2015. 

Mayberry has been outspoken on a variety of causes since the group first entered the scene in 2013, becoming a prominent figure in the discussion surrounding sexism in the music industry. This confidence and sense of justice has undeniably cast a shadow on Chvrches’ music, with the Scottish trio taking on the guise of social commentators – very rarely seen in an electro-pop outfit.  

This statement is made under the assumption that the group are still regarded as electro-pop, as this album stretches the genre into almost every shape that it can possibly take; exploring industrial dance sounds In ‘Never Say Die’ and spatially uninhibited, stripped-back sadness in ‘Really Gone’, all woven together with a perpetual stream of understated synth riffs and slow-build bass drums.  

It would appear, however, that an increase in Mayberry’s lyrical bite and a large off-stage presence has threatened to rebrand the Glaswegian 3-piece as a solo act, with the vocalist even appearing individually on the artwork.  

This needn’t be a bad thing, particularly when the 30-year-old singer owns the role so well, but one can’t help but feel that a braver exploration of the group’s instrumental talents may make for an album with an extra dimension and help to keep the group from falling into predictable melodic patterns, which this LP threatens to do on occasion.  

As such an admired presence in the battle to give woman the respect that they deserve in the industry, there was a great deal of pressure on Lauren Mayberry & Chvrches to step up to the plate in their third album and Love Is Dead has definitely delivered what was required of them. Paving the way for the band to gain more and more momentum as their fanbase snowballs more with each day.  

Rating: ★★★★☆

Love Is Dead is released tomorrow, Friday 25th May via Glassnote Records, and is available to pre-order now. The Scottish three-piece will also play a one-off UK headline show at London’s House of Vans, which will be streamed live starting at 9pm on Friday 25th. 

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