The Listener

More immediate and even more vacuous than before: Chvrches’ Love Is Dead reviewed

2 June 2018

9:00 AM

2 June 2018

9:00 AM

Grade: B

Another load of SJW moppets keening over 1980s synths. ‘It only takes two seconds to say: I don’t agree with white supremacy,’ they told the Guardian. Chvrches, a Scottish trio relocated to New York, are led by the elfin and relentlessly concerned Lauren Mayberry. The Eurythmics fronted by Owen Jones, then, kind of. Just what you wanted, isn’t it? Chvrches have never had a hit but they do have a presence and reputation, acquired through endless gigging. They haven’t had a hit because their songs are not very good, if we’re honest.


With this new album they have tried very hard indeed to change that by bringing in shiny producers and delivering a set that sounds, at times, like the most witless Europop (especially on ‘My Enemy’). There is the anthemic bombast of ‘Never Say Die’ (Mayberry is incapable of seeing a cliché without shoehorning it into her songs. One song begins with the words ‘Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.’ She is an excruciatingly dull lyricist.) There is ‘Get Out’, which sounds for all the world like they wanted to make ‘Shake It Off’, an aspiration which is sadly beyond their abilities. There is the glutinous power ballad ‘Wonderland’. And ‘Miracle’, which is Annie Lennox shifted up an octave.

To a degree the album fulfils its mission: the songs are more immediate and perhaps even more vacuous than before and so fairly radio-friendly. It will chart. But why are all these kids so committed to plundering pop music’s worst ever decade? You’d think they’d have got bored of it by now. I was bored of it by 1981.

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