Review: Chvrches – “Screen Violence”

Formed in Glasgow in 2011, Chvrches have gone from strength to strength over the last decade and have risen through the ranks to be true global superstars and one of Scotland’s best musical exports since the turn of the millennium and now, they are back after what seems like forever and a day with their highly anticipated fourth album, Screen Violence.

Maybe it’s just me, but new good, at least good new music, seems to becoming a much rarer thing. I’m entirely willing to admit that maybe I’m out of touch or I’m not looking in the right places but I can count on one hand the amount of truly the amount of truly great albums we’ve had this year so with Screen Violence having such a big expectation, the big question is can it live up to the hype?

Screen Violence opens with Asking For A Friend, a track that slowly takes shape as you listen as it seamlessly builds out from almost nothing into the full on Chvrches sound you know and love. Instead of jumping in with both feet like you might expect, Asking For A Friend lures you in slowly and I must admit I did find it to be a refreshing, yet effective way, to start album as well as subvert expectations.

Next up is He Said She Said, the first track that I, and probably most of you reading this, heard from this album when it was released as a single a couple of months ago and if that’s the case you know exactly what you’re getting here with lyrics that’s sure to find a home in your head whether you want them to or not.

California and Violent Delights are your standard Chvrches affair, which is to say tightly knit, well produced synth-pop tracks that are both a credit to the band’s catalogue as well as the genre itself, but these lead us into How Not To Drown featuring Robert Smith. How Not To Drown is perhaps one of the finest examples of an artists collaboration since Queen and David Bowie released Under Pressure in 1981 with it serving as a track that feels both uniquely Chvrches while at the same time sounding like the next evolution of The Cure.

Final Girl and Good Girls are both tracks I expect to be incorporated seamlessly into the band’s touring set however I think it may be Lullabies that takes the award of being the best track on the album for me. We finish up with Nightmares and Better If You Don’t before I’m left sitting wondering how long it’ll be before I can get my hands on more material from Chvrches with my biggest, and really only complaint about Screen Violence is that I didn’t find it long enough to satisfy my desire for new music the band.

As you’d expect, the album sounds amazing with the production being as top tier as their previous releases. I’m not one to blow smoke up anyone’s arse. I have nothing to prove and nothing to gain. I run this website for the sheer enjoyment of it at this point. As such, please rest assured that my words regarding Screen Violence, or indeed anything else on the website, are my own honest thoughts, unfiltered and uncensored for my own egotistical desires meaning when this might my favourite album of the year so far.

by Edward Laing