love is dead
CHVRCHES made a name for themselves with throwback synthy music that somehow didn’t sound like a nostalgia trip or like the worst type of vapid pop music (2013 LP The Bones of What We Believe remains one of my picks for best of the 2010’s). This was much due instrumentation being on equal ground with the vocals, if not more important, since lead singer Lauren Mayberry was still finding her voice. Yet the music they’ve made since their debut has often sounded like a cheap knock-off of, well, itself. This year’s Love is Dead, their third album, packs more punch than sleepier sophomore set Every Open Eye, but it still falls into some pits. “Miracle” sounds like an Imagine Dragons song (Gross). Back-to-back tracks “Get Out” and “Deliverance” rely on the same repetitive device to try and turn their simple choruses into earworms. On the other hand, the album introduces a step forward in “My Enemy,” a duet with Matt Berninger of The National. And “Heaven/Hell” could be a forgotten track from The Bones of What We Believe. But most of Love is Dead is dime-a-dozen synth-pop that falls short by putting too much emphasis on vocals that have little new to say.