From the opening synths of ‘Graffiti’, this is a record that goes for the jugular.
Label: Virgin Records
Released: 25th May 2018
Sometimes, it can feel like any inverted-commas-alternative band who write a half decent chorus are labelled as having ‘gone pop’ – a diverse genre based on a multitude of constantly shifting influences reduced to the trait of being sort of listenable. Chvrches have definitely not ‘gone pop’.
In most part, that’s because the Scottish three-piece have never not been connoisseurs of music’s fast lanes. Their previous two albums of fizzing, electronic gems have been packed with moments of genuine, mainstream bothering delight. In ‘The Mother We Share’, they have one of the decade’s very best pop moments. Yet, on their third full-length, it’s a label that is likely to be thrown about freely.
That’s what happens when you work with megapop mastermind Greg Kurstin. Taking outside influence for the first time, he’s the man who co-wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on Adele’s chart-dominating ‘Hello’. He’s worked with everything from Sia to Tegan & Sara, Lily Allen to Beck. He even tried to make Foo Fighters sound like they belonged in the 21st century. But while elsewhere bringing on board a big name producer can be about duplicating the past victories of other, more commercially successful contemporaries, that’ll doesn’t apply here. Kurstin is a man stepping into a fully formed world. These are peers collaborating to shine up new, brighter diamonds. ‘Love Is Dead’ is definitively a Chvrches album, but it’s also so, so much more.
From the opening synths of ‘Graffiti’, this is a record that goes for the jugular. Shimmering in their disco ball neon jungle, it’s a concentration of an idea – the most Chvrches that Chvrches have ever sounded. From the Coldplay-esque-in-a-good-way repeating refrain of ‘Deliverance’ (think the hook to ‘Paradise’ that’s still earworming its way to the brain) to the brilliantly new ‘Miracle’, they’ll always find a way to hit their mark. In truth, this is pop gone Chvrches – just the way it should be. Stephen Ackroyd