Friday, May 25, 2018

Album Review :: Chvrches - Love Is Dead



Love Is Dead

May 25 2018 (Glassnote/Virgin Records)


Words: Alison Mack

The Scottish three-piece brought in Grammy-winning pop producer Greg Kurstin - known for this work with the likes of Adele - and Steve Mac for this third album 'Love Is Dead', and as a result there is a glossy swing to the dramatic and bold. There is an obvious attempt to go all out and flog the whole thing to... the 'death' of the title, if you like, or at least to the record-buying fraternity who glean their tastes from commercial outlets.

The production is sharp as one might expect, and the content of ‘Love Is Dead' is the kind geared for the stadia the band now inhabit. The songs while not overly dissimilar to what they put out on their previous two efforts, do have a feel of at times of being of little variance, following a well-trod path of hooky chorus, Lauren Mayberry soaring vocally over synths and battling lyrics that at times descend to amateur territory.

Opener ‘Graffiti’ is vibrant and melodic, lead single 'Get Out' wings its way on a bed of billowing synths before giving way to a big singalong chorus; while 'Miracle' is most pop-synth-shimmering as Mayberry's airy vocal relating how she's "not looking for a miracle" glides above striking percussion and bass and synth underscore.

While the ballads 'Really Gone' and 'ii' prove welcome distractions and the upbeat ‘Graves’ at least interests in its dark lyric complexity (“they’re leaving bodies in stairwells /or washing up on the shore”), the album is let down by the weaker tracks such as the Matt Berninger (The National) duet 'My Enemy', and Martin Doherty's vocal leading 'God’s Plan' and the repetitive and overblown 'Never Say Die'.

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