A lot has changed for CHVRCHES in the past few years. When the Glaswegian trio wrote and recorded their debut,The Bones Of What You Believe (2013), no one had heard of them. The three members (Iain Cook, Martin Doherty and Lauren Mayberry) came together with the idea of working on a writing project together, unsure of what path that would take other than one which belied their previous musical projects and foregrounded melody and classic songwriting styles before everything else. There were no pre-existing ideas of what the record would or should be like, no pre-conceptions and nothing to live up to – just three people in a basement studio in Glasgow making music they believed in. The album went on to sell over 500,000 copies and earned rave reviews far and wide.
Approaching the new album, Every Open Eye, one could argue that everything is different for the band but they tried not to treat it that way. CHVRCHES returned to the same hometown studio that had housed them during the recording of their first LP, their basic goal to shut off the outside world and get back to what they know best: writing. Made in CHVRCHES’ Alucard Studios – a converted three-bedroom flat on the southside of Glasgow – Every Open Eye offers an alternative approach in a climate of music written by committee or the same handful of well-known songwriters, going back to the idea that a band can write, record and produce their work entirely by themselves.
Using some ideas the band had recorded in venues during their time on the road as a starting point, the band found riffs, loops and melodies they wanted to develop or started from scratch on the synths, pads and machines they had been gathering in their basement to create the instrumentals of the songs. Vocal melodies were developed as the songs took shape with the lyrics added last, developed from words and sentences from notebooks Lauren Mayberry had kept on tour.
Musically, Every Open Eye seeks to do more with less. To make big sounds without racking up endless tracks within Cubase sessions. To make something intense and urgent and visceral, using the basic tools of melody, rhythm and arrangement rather than the mentality that ‘more is more’. Sonically, Every Open Eye develops CHVRCHES’ signature style, juxtaposing the light and the dark, creating their own brand of twisted pop music that uniquely merges the organic with the electronic, molding sounds and ideas forged over two years on the road into an electronic-pop record with a heart.
Lyrically, Every Open Eye is not a break up album. It is a record about past heartbreaks and getting over them ("Leave A Trace"). About perspective and the benefit of hindsight. About being unapologetic and not being told what to do or who to be ("Bury It," "Never Ending Circles," "Playing Dead"). About moving on to better things, holding on to the good and letting go of the bad ("Down Side Of Me," "Clearest Blue," "Afterglow"). Mixed by Spike Stent and mastered by Bob Ludwig.