The Scottish trio Chvrches recorded their latest album, Screen Violence, with singer Lauren Mayberry and Martin Doherty in Los Angeles and Iain Cook back home in Glasgow. Screen Violence was a name that the band had considered before settling on Chvrches. The violence referred to on the screen plays out in movies, TV, computers and phones the world over.
“Asking For a Friend” starts with minimal electronics before the track starts to build as Mayberry shares regrets about someone as she tells them “…you still matter”. Over a less noisy musical bed, the band joins other UK transplants in the Golden State as they sing that “no one ever warns ya/you’ll die in California”. “Violent Delights” adds more atmosphere in the verses along with creepy lyrics based on nightmares that Mayberry had been having. Guitars add depth to “Better If You Don’t Change” that also offers one of the album’s best vocal performances.
With a brittle, clattering sound, it is Mayberry’s distinct Scottish accent that often produces a warmth that draws in the listener. Second single, “How Not to Drown” adds Robert Smith to the proceedings with an outro that drifts out to sea. The often-personal lyrics are bleak where the reports are that “I’m writing a book on how to stay conscious when you drown”. Four albums in, the emotional scars reveal themselves but Chvrches use that emotion to release on of their best records.