Review: CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye

★★★☆☆

Three Stars

Fans of CHVRCHES will find themselves at home as the first chords of ‘Never Ending Circles’ cascade into an immediately catchy opener to their 2015 album. Every Open Eye comes nearly exactly two years after the Glaswegian trio’s debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, and in the intervening two years it’s clear that they’ve taken the time to refine their sound.

It’s a confident move, indicative of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset – yet they’ve made some subtle improvements. Part of this is a delicate balancing act – the instantly recognisable bangers that’ll get played to death in Topshop are juxtaposed with the two slower tracks on the album. Martin Doherty’s sole outing as vocalist, ‘High Enough To Carry You Over’, is a soulful ballad breaking up the middle of the album, and ‘Afterglow’ lives up to its name as a dreamy comedown bringing Every Open Eye to a graceful close.

This confidence could be seen in a different light, however. Side by side, someone new to CHVRCHES wouldn’t be able to draw a distinction between this fresh outing and their debut album. Doherty may have expressed a desire not to go down the oft-tread route of a dark, brooding second album (though a listen to the lyrics in Every Open Eye might make it seem otherwise), but the alternative seems to have been that CHVRCHES have found a comfy perch atop their laurels.