Chvrches – Screen Violence
Chvrches make good use of production and effects to create multidimensional meanings from one signature sound in Screen Violence. This record is perfectly well constructed in terms of track listing, with songs like California, Violent Delights, How Not to Drown and Final Girl following one after the other – using the same themes of cinematic, literary and water imagery.
Asking for a Friend has a steady keyboard hold to open, with rhymes and percussion keeping up the rhythm. The fast pace indulges the act of running away – a concept that’s also portrayed through the lyrics: while there’s an admittance of regrets and mistakes, there is still a major lack of accountability, especially when going by the notion of “asking for a friend” and in other such phrases as, “I filled my bed with my regrets but it hasn’t killed me yet”.
Upbeat with a sense of understanding, California mixes themes of making it, love and tragedy. The riff on the words “falling in a dream” produces a very vivid sense of what it’s like to fall in that moment in time. There is a juxtaposition in how the melody reflects the brilliance of the Los Angeles city lights, alongside the heavy heart of failed dreams. A series of tragedies, Violent Delights exposes the very human act of having morbid thoughts. The constant back-and-forth and indecision is reflected in the length of the track. Lauren Mayberry’s stylistic scream of a chorus is reminiscent of waking up from a nightmare.
Instrumental composition riddles Final Girl with anxiety. Here, the singer questions whether the investment in her career and art is a time that would be much better spent somewhere else. The band’s frontwoman said she watched a lot of horror films during the making of this album, relating “the feeling of being watched and hunted and chased” as a big part of her relationship with being a woman. Tackling that same subject of the female experience, Good Girls takes a defiant stance against the saying “boys will be boys”.
The electric guitar is most strongly present in Better if You Don’t. The song is the most descriptive on the record, with a lot of atmosphere in the lyrics. While the others are more internalised musings and emotional journeys, this track looks back on events, moments and passing people by. It’s a good closer, coming back home only to realise that things have changed.
Photo: Sebastian Mlynarski
Screen Violence is released on 27th August 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Chvrches’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Good Girls here: