Glaswegian trio CHVRCHES have finally released their highly anticipated third album Love Is Dead, a moody but sparkling collection of synth pop that finds itself in a thrilling realm between light and dark.
Opening with blissfully aching track ‘Graffiti’, which melts through pounding electronic drums and soaring melodies, the 13-tracker constantly dances along the fine line of melancholy and joy. Singing “Wrote our names along the bathroom walls, graffiti-ing our hearts across the stalls, I’ve been waiting for my whole life to grow old and now we never will,” in the chorus, the track captures a moment in time that feels like a memory as it’s happening.
The trio have always had mainstream pop potential, with their ridiculously catchy choruses in Lauren Mayberry’s signature sweet high range and body-shaking walls of synths, but behind the dancefloor candy of each track is an emotional depth not commonly found on the radio.
“With Love Is Dead, we’ve broadened the appeal, but there are moments that are more difficult than anything we’ve ever done,” explains Martin Doherty.
One such difficult moment is in eighth track ‘Graves’ which haunts with lyrics like, “they’re leaving bodies in stairwells and washing up on the shore,” “You can look away while they’re dancing on our graves”. The track doesn’t dwell in misery however, as the strong dance beat and swelling chorus create an infectious sense of hope.
“We live in a time where the death of empathy is pretty evident,” Mayberry shares, “You turn on the news and see story after story about how selfish and unkind people are, but also stories of strength and resilience and resistance. How do we deal with both those things?”
Final track ‘Wonderland’ captures this middle ground perfectly with the lyrics “You tell me that we’ll be alright but I don’t know if you’re right.” It’s simultaneously full of hope and awareness – there’s no naivety in this bubblegum pop which tackles all that’s scary in the world with vibrant synthesised goodness.
Mayberry describes, “Coming to terms with the fact that there are great things in the world and there are awful things in the world and that you can’t get one without the other.” With Love Is Dead, CHVRCHES have gifted us a great collection of enlightened synth pop, the only awful thing will be the wait for the next album.
Words by Hayley Franklin.