We made that first record without anyone being aware of who we were or being interested in what we had to produce. So that can be daunting. You go to make your second record and suddenly there’s this weight of expectation.
BY WILLIAM KOSH
PHOTO BY ELIOT HAZEL
Chvrches’ Every Open Eye is a textbook example of the “highly anticipated album,” a pop and rock-adjacent record from a band that has just finished transitioning from cult darlings to festival headliners. Everyone who seems to come in contact with the band walks away converted, including Pitchfork, who declared that Chvrches “embody what a generation raised on electronic music is looking for in a rock band.” So is the band comfortable trying to live up to such lofty accolades?
“I mean, that’s super flattering,” said Chvrches sampler, synthesizer and keyboardist Martin Doherty when confronted with the Pitchfork quote. “I haven’t heard anyone put it better in terms of what we aspire to be…But anyway, whether or not we can live up to it is for other people to decide.”
Doherty is a pretty grounded guy, all things considered. Despite Chvrches’ incessant touring, he still lists a few interesting Scotland-based bands when asked about the band’s native Glasgow scene. (He recommends Sarah Stanley and Man on Moon, but adds that his hometown produces new music to check out so frequently that it’s almost impossible to keep up.) He still keeps in touch with members of the last band he toured with, The Twilight Sad, and doesn’t rule out the possibility of a reunion.
Doherty is a little nervous about the upcoming release date for Every Open Eye, if his recent Tweet “just hit me that our album is out in less than three weeks” accompanied with a short video of a cat looking distressed is any indication. “We made that first record without anyone being aware of who we were or being interested in what we had to produce,” he explains. “So that can be daunting. You go to make your second record and suddenly there’s this weight of expectation.”
Every Open Eye delivers the brash sincerity of 2013 debut The Bones of What You Believe but in a more flexible, fluid package. It breathes life into the tiniest, most intimate emotions, imbuing them with seismic bombast while giving the listener the courage to believe that sorrow, hope and love can shake the heavens, expand crumpled lungs and lead the lost home.
Quite a few parallels are drawn between Chvrches and Purity Ring, but Doherty thinks those comparisons are lazy. “I actually love Purity Ring,” he says. “I think they’re amazing. But what they do is deeply rooted in R&B and hip-hop, I think. The production is very kind of super-focused, right down to the instrumentation…The focus [for Chvrches] is on the songwriting over the production. With our band, the production just sort of happens and it’s just based on whatever we’re listening to and whatever we consider to be exciting at the moment.”