CHVRCHES: Love Is Dead
There’s a sense of ache that lies within the buoyant pop melodies on Love Is Dead , the third LP from CHVRCHES. The album, which follows 2015’s beloved release Every Open Eye , is interested in that balance between soaring optimism and unavoidable sadness. From the boisterous anthem of “Get Out,” the flagship single off the record, to the glittering synth of “Heaven/Hell,” it’s clear that the musicians are grappling with some big questions that require even bigger answers. On the latter, singer Lauren Mayberry questions, “Is this heaven? Or is this hell?” Later, on “Really Gone,” the band strips away the layers of synth beats and leaves Mayberry’s voice to carry the heartbroken message as she wails, “I’m doing my best to toughen up for these days.” Hit-maker Greg Kurstin sat at the helm for much of the production, which shows during these moments that pair pop hooks with deeply thought moments of bittersweet emotion. The National’s Matt Berninger appears on “My Enemy,” a hauntingly dark duet that matches Mayberry’s sweet croon with Berninger’s gravely moan. It’s a revelation for CHVRCHES, who mostly rely on Mayberry’s voice to carry their tracks (although there have been a few past exceptions when one of her bandmates has stepped in). Berninger’s presence augments an already mournful song, adding a welcome juxtaposition to the band’s glimmering melody. This album, as a whole, isn’t a vast departure for CHVRCHES, but it’s certainly a great evolution—one that suggests they have the ability to hang on to the best parts of their sound while continuing to adapt to the world around them.