Chilling images of final girls and violent delights pepper this dreamy record.
Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches released their fourth studio album Screen Violence on August 27, 2021 through EMI Records in the UK and Glassnote Records in the US. Well known for their dream-like, synthesizer heavy tracks, which often teeter between bubblegum sweetness, thanks to singer Lauren Mayberry’s vocals, and a cutting darkness.
After nearly two years in a state of prolonged anxiety, it's understandable that Screen Violence was heavily influenced by living through lockdown. A time in which so many situations either feel or are completely out of our control. “I feel like I’m losing my mind, over and over and…” sings Mayberry on the album’s first single, "He Said She Said." It's a concept that is likely too familiar to many of us.
In “Final Girls,” the band touches on familiar imagery of the horror genre trope while Mayberry pictures herself in the position of the tortured woman at the end of the story: “In the final cut, in the final scene, there’s a final girl. Does she look like me?” The song comments on Mayberry’s experience in the spotlight, “And it feels like the weight is too much to carry. I should quit, maybe go get married," with call-outs of critiques on her accent, her appearance and her writing.
One stand-out track on the album is “How Not To Drown,” which was co-written by and features Robert Smith of The Cure. Band member Martin Doherty first created a demo on his laptop during a time of depression and anxiety and tweeted about how the collaboration with Robert Smith was the proudest moment of his life as a musician. He said that the song was “confirmation that even when things seem like they’re at their worst, something good can grow.”
For horror fans, Chvrches has also provided additional treats with this release. Horror icon, legendary director and composer of several exquisite horror film scores John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) worked with the band to release two remixes. Carpenter gave his classic treatment to “Good Girls,” and the band gave their synth-pop treatment to one of Carpenter’s songs, “Turning the Bones.” Both remixes are available to stream on Spotify.
The band also released a deepfake trailer to promote the album before it went live. This eerie minute-long creep-fest places the band members in beloved horror films like The Amityville Horror (1979) and Tenebre (1982) among others. You know you’re in good hands when a band loves the horror genre as much as you do. This album is a must-listen for fans of electronic pop, synthesizers and scary movies.
Screen Violence is available to stream on Spotify.