“Love Is Dead”
BOTTOM LINE Finding the right mix between their synth-pop sound and their lyrical fury
Chvrches aren’t subtle about their feelings on their third album, “Love Is Dead” (Glassnote).
However, the Scottish trio, who now call Brooklyn home base, remain optimistic, both with their upbeat synth riffs and danceable rhythms.
“We’re looking for angels in the darkest of skies,” Lauren Mayberry sings in a plaintive voice on “Miracle,” before the big EDM drop plunges the dramatic single into more darkness. On the opposite side, the bouncy chorus of the super-poppy “Get Out” is balanced by the cutting declaration, “Good intention’s never good enough.”
It’s a tough tightrope to walk, but Chvrches’ darker impulses are brightened by producer Greg Kurstin, best known for his work with Adele and Kelly Clarkson, and his ability to find the hook in even the most complicated of arrangements. “My Enemy,” with its gloomy synths from Iain Cook and Martin Doherty and moody vocals from The National’s Matt Berninger, remains poppy because of the sweetness of the melody.
All that craftsmanship should make Chvrches a staple on alternative rock radio, with a chance at a pop crossover on several tracks, but they manage it on their own terms.