Even amongst the overload of electro-pop out there, Glasgow’s CHVRCHES has stood out, for eschewing the bright-but-simple club bangers for more heart-rending emotive tracks. They have mixed between killer standouts and less impressive filler material, and that continues, on the still compelling Screen Violence.
And there are definitely killer standouts on Violence, such as singles “He Said She Said” and “How Not To Drown”. The former brings into sharp, expressive focus the persuasion, even gaslighting, that women receive from the men in their lives, while the latter features none other than Robert Smith of The Cure (previous record Love Is Dead – QRO review – had Matt Berninger of The National on a track, showcasing that CHVRCHES can recruit a guest vocalist who complements, not competes, with singer Lauren Mayberry). There are other memorable pieces, such as the bounce-back uplift of opener “Asking For a Friend”, if also more basic electro-pop pleads.
At their best, CHVRCHES manage to combine both the current musical trends of big electro-pop and searing female emotions, and if they aren’t always at that level, they still reach high.