‘Love Is Dead’: Chvrches embraces its commercial pop side

Love Is Dead CHVRCHESChvrches
Love Is Dead
Universal


With their third album, Love Is Dead, the Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches brazenly embraces its commercial pop side. Whereas previous records had mixed rousing singles such as The Mother We Share and Bury It with artsy and insular tracks that foregrounded their seriousness, Love Is Dead is full of widescreen anthems.

For the first time, the trio — transplanted from Glasgow to Brooklyn — brought in outside producers, most notably hit-maker Greg Kurstin (Adele, Pink), who worked on three-quarters of the album’s dozen songs.

While the music is relentlessly hook-filled with reliably explosive choruses, the lyrics offer a conflicted view of love, often accusatory or questioning. “Good intentions never good enough,” Lauren Mayberry sings in the seemingly chipper Get Out. “Weren’t we gonna be honest and weren’t we gonna be more?” she sings on the repetitive Never Say Die. And the National’s dour Matt Berninger drops in for an argumentative duet, My Enemy.

Love Is Dead is sometimes heavy-handed in both its joyful tone and cynical sentiments, but the friction is often fascinating. — Steve Klinge/ The Philadelphia Inquirer/Tribune News Service

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