Their most intriguing record since their debut
Josh Williams
11:25 24th August 2021

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Every so often a band comes along that are consistently good. Better than good, even. CHVRCHES, as their magnificent new album Screen Violence demonstrates, are one of those bands.

From the almost nostalgic sensibilities of opening track ‘Asking For A Friend’ with its opening line “I don’t wanna say that I’m afraid to die” through to the semi-mournful ‘Better If You Don’t’, every single Screen Violence track has something special about it. 

Single ‘He Said She Said’ is an anthem and a rallying cry against misogyny whilst ‘California’ is a dreamy heartbreaker with the line “I didn’t go to the funeral / heard you cry on the phone / your voice was so beautiful / now I need to let it go” combining with Lauren Mayberry’s vocals for a real punch to the heart. ‘Violent Delights’ with its liberating drums and huge soaring synths will absolutely erupt live, especially with a chorus so huge that it’ll knock thousands off their feet. 

The Robert Smith-featuring ‘How Not To Drown’ is another highlight, with Mayberry’s talent for visual storytelling through her words coming to the forefront once again. Fully embracing the album’s love of horror films is the brilliant ‘Final Girl’, referring to the horror trope of the same name, with Martin Doherty and Iain Cook’s instrumentals coming to the fore to great effect with a driving bass over a creepy guitar that wouldn’t sound out of place on a '90s horror soundtrack. The horror soundtrack vibe continues with the epic ‘Nightmares’ combining that vibe with a massive pop drop in the chorus.

Screen Violence is a huge triumph for a band that continues to go from strength to strength: claustrophobic and isolating in places yet made for the biggest venues with the band at the absolute peak of their powers.   This is without a doubt their most intriguing record since their 2013 debut. 

Screen Violence arrives 27 August via Virgin.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

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Photo: Press