×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Album Review: Chvrches’ ‘Love Is Dead’

Since Chvrches’ debut single “Recover” first began wafting across the internet more than five years ago, the Scottish trio has been refining their sublime synthpop, working within a relatively limited formula — towering banks of celestial keyboards combined with Lauren Mayberry’s sweet yet often stinging vocals — and continually finding new ways to perfect it. With their third full-length, “Love Is Dead,” the group has honed that formula to a new peak and fleshed it out considerably, thanks in part to the input of several collaborators.

Eurythmics cofounder Dave Stewart acted as a “de facto mentor” and hitmaker Greg Kurstin (Grammy Producer of the Year for the past two years via his work with Adele and Sia) collaborated on eight of this album’s 12 songs and essentially became a fourth member of the band. Their influence is clear in the tighter focus of the songwriting and the simple-sounding-but-actually-quite-complex arrangements, not to mention the emphatic-ness of the hooks: Songs like “Get Out,” “Forever,” “Miracle” and “My Enemy” (the latter a duet with National singer Matt Berninger) work hard to embed themselves in the listeners’ psyche and usually succeed.

Having said all that, the group’s lyrics have always been a weak point and that’s still the case: Some of the album’s strongest and most oft-repeated hooks have distractingly banal lyrics like “Never say die,” “Get out of here,” “Is this heaven or is this hell?,” and “You are a kaleidoscope.” (To paraphrase “The Great Gatsby,” have you ever met anyone even faintly like a kaleidoscope?) This is especially perplexing considering Mayhew’s razor-sharp comments in interviews and on social media, particularly about feminism and even more pertinently about the sexism she faces in the music industry. While an artist is under no obligation to do anything with their art that they choose not to, at times it does feel like a missed opportunity to use the group’s indelible songcraft to make larger points that she’s frequently made elsewhere.

But maybe that falls outside the group’s manifesto, which is to make great pop music — and with “Love Is Dead,” Chvrches have made their most fully-realized effort to date (musically, anyway).

Chvrches
“Love Is Dead”
(Glassnote Records)

 

 

 

Album Review: Chvrches' 'Love Is Dead'

More Music

  • Nancy Matalon

    Spirit Music Group Names Nancy Matalon VP of A&R, Announces Additional Hires

    Publishing company Spirit Music Group, which recently saw a $350 million recapitalization, has made some key staffing moves. Nancy Matalon, a veteran A&R executive who’s worked wit the likes of Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Public Enemy and Echosmith, among others, has been appointed vice president of A&R. In addition, Spirit has promoted Melanie Santa Rosa to [...]

  • Little Shop of Horrors review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

    With its strains of kitschy doo-wop and its sci-fi B-movie inspirations, the quaint 1982 musical “Little Shop of Horrors” hardly seems a thing of modern-day revivalism, even despite its touches of S&M. Yet this year alone, not only is there an Off Broadway production of the blackly comic “Little Shop” featuring Jonathan Groff of Netflix’s [...]

  • BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to

    BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to Be Produced by Management Firm's New Shingle, ModestTV

    The BBC has confirmed its Little Mix talent show, which the pop band’s management firm, Modest!, will produce through a new banner, ModestTV. “Little Mix The Search” will be exec produced by Andrea Hamilton, who has partnered with the management outfit to launch the new operation. Her entertainment show credits include “The Voice” and “Strictly [...]

  • NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 15:

    Midland Turns L.A.'s Dormant Palomino Club Into a Honky-Tonk Brigadoon

    Would it be too much to ask Midland to give up its burgeoning-country-star status and move west to become the humble house band at a newly reopened Palomino club in L.A.? It doesn’t seem a lot to beseech for a good cause, however unlucrative it might be for the group’s fortunes and fame. The famed [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16:

    Idina Menzel, Bebe Rexha Take the Stage for Justin Tranter's 'Beyond' Benefit Concert

    We’re here, we’re queer and we’re writing your favorite songs was the theme of Beyond, the third annual benefit concert that Justin Tranter and his CAA agent, Jenna Adler, organized to benefit GLAAD at the Sunset Room in Hollywood on Wednesday night (Oct. 16). Beyond a music showcase, its mission is to highlight the annual [...]

  • Taylor SwiftMTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals,

    Vivendi's Third Quarter Results Up Nearly 17%, UMG Still Rising

    Vivendi saw its third quarter revenues increase by 16.7% to €3.97 billion ($4.4 billion) compared with the third quarter of 2018, once again boosted by the growth of Universal Music Group, while Canal Plus Group remained stable. For the first nine months of 2019, Vivendi’s revenues reached €11.3 billion ($12.5 billion), an increase of 14.6% [...]

  • Parliament-Funkadelic and George ClintonIEBA Annual Conference,

    George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Sheila E. to Perform in ‘Grammy Salute’ Airing Friday

    Parliament-Funkadelic stars George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, along with Sheila E. and many others, perform in the “Grammy Salute to Music Legends” airing as part of PBS’ “Great Performances” series Friday night. The show, the fourth annual all-star concert offering a primetime spotlight for the Academy’s 2019 Special Merit Awards recipients, premieres nationwide Friday, Oct. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content