CHVRCHES Releases New Album “Screen Violence”: Streaming
- Scottish synth-pop band CHVRCHES, consisting of Iain Cook, Martin Doherty and Lauren Mayberry, released their fourth studio album “Screen Violence” on August 27, 2021.
It is their first album in three years. The band recorded and produced the album over video sessions between Glasgow, where Iain Cook based, and Los Angeles, where Martin Doherty and Lauren Mayberry based, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 10-track album features guest appearance from British singer-songwriter Robert Smith.
Originally, the album title “Screen Violence” was a contender for the actual name of the band, and encapsulated a horror movie aesthetic the trio have always been drawn to.
Also, the album title and the concept came from Lauren Mayberry's experience that she was facing near-constant death threats from strangers online in 2018.
Lauren Mayberry told Apple Music, “Everyone's like, 'Don't listen to the haters.' But there's a difference between not listening and being worried that someone's going to murder you. Coming up with that title and the concept felt quite cathartic and reassuring.”
Iain Cook spoke to Alternative Press, “That whole '80s horror aesthetic has always been present and, also, apparently referenced in our music and themes. Definitely with Screen Violence, the title itself draws from that era of horror movies and the splat or gore movies and stuff like that. And [the] slasher movies that we all love so much.”
CHVRCHES explained track-by-track for the album via Apple Music.
“Asking for a Friend”
Lauren Mayberry: “This song is depressing but hopeful. It took a while to get the lyrics right, because the track has such a profound feel to it. If I put the wrong lyric on here, it would fuck everything up. The track felt like a cool chapter one: It's about regret and loneliness and it's quite vulnerable and raw. But then it's like, 'Well, why do you feel those things?' The next chapters are about going back to tell the rest of that story.”
“He Said She Said”
Martin Doherty: “The chords felt like they had this eternal tension in them—they never actually release, even though they get really big. It feels to me like a panic attack, with this grounding force of the drums, which were rigid and quite slow and which are at half the speed of the track.”
LM: “I liked that the percussion felt more aggressive than anything we'd done in a long time, and that informed the lyrics. It's interesting to see how people have responded to this song, as we didn't set out to write a message song.”
Martin Doherty: “Everyone who moves to LA does a California song, so we were conscious of not doing that. But no one ever makes songs about the dark side of what happens if you get stuck here and you're a failure and your entire life almost becomes somewhat meaningless and you have to retreat. Lauren came in with those lyrics and it was like, 'I guess we're going there.' The juxtaposition with the sound makes sense with that meaning—if it was all about how great it was to live in LA, it would be a terrible mistake.”
Martin Doherty: “Iain and I talk about Music for the Jilted Generation by The Prodigy and how it's such an influential British electronic album. This song is definitely a nod to it. I just thought it sounded like a night terror. That inspired us to go even harder on the track.”
Lauren Mayberry: “At first I worried it would be pretentious to put Shakespeare references into the album, but I'd rewatched Baz Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet and I found the phrase 'violent delights' really evocative. I feel like we're all morbidly fascinated with the violence that happens to other people. The verse lyrics are actually a series of nightmares that I'd been having. In a hotel room on tour, I dreamed that people were trying to get into the room, and once woke up having piled a bunch of pillows and stuff up against the door—with no memory of doing it. It's your subconscious telling you your house is on fire and you need to get out. The wheels were coming off.”
“How Not to Drown” featuring Robert Smith
Martin Doherty: “I use writing as a coping mechanism to find better balance as I don't handle the constant moving around very well. We happened to be in a venue with an old beaten-up piano on it. I started playing around, bashing chords out like the way they ended up in the song. Our manager knows what huge fans we are of The Cure, and—without telling us—was trying to get us a support slot. Then he said, 'Robert Smith has emailed me, what do we want?' We said, 'Let's send him a bunch of music. The ultimate dream would be for him to sing on this record.' A while later, we got an email out of the blue on Halloween with him singing on this track.”
Lauren Mayberry: “I'd been reading a lot of Virginia Woolf. She killed herself by drowning herself, which is quite dark. We always talk about how water and water imagery comes up a lot in my lyric writing. It was time to figure out why that was. I feel like it's all a metaphor for drowning under something. But we're here and Robert Smith's on the song, so it's really good.”
Lauren Mayberry: “I watched so many horror movies to research this album. There's something about the female experience in horror that you can relate to—the feeling of being watched and hunted and chased, which has been a big part of my relationship with being a woman, I guess.”
Martin Doherty: “When Lauren came in with the chorus, I was like, 'Look, if you want to leave [the band], just leave.' The lyric literally said, 'I should quit and go get married.'”
LM: “We'd been having this discussion about struggling with the idea of male heroes who do terrible things and how you—as a fan or a listener or viewer—sit with those things. I've always struggled with it. I find it hard to be emotionally vulnerable with someone as a listener if I know they think certain things. But then I was just thinking about the time and energy we've spent being stressed about that and trying to figure out how to live with that. We don't spend as much time worrying about the people who are the subject of the behavior.”
Martin Doherty: “We could do a whole interview about how important [Scottish band] The Blue Nile is to us, coming from Glasgow. They truly manifest the sound of the city, and when I listen, I'm immediately transported home. I was homesick and really longing for Glasgow, and that's where those sounds—especially the strings on this song—come from.”
Lauren Mayberry: “This is the only song on the record that's about relationships. The verses are about relationships, then the choruses are about me being frustrated at writing about relationships. It feels like you're trapped in this horrible repeating saga.”
Iain Cook: “There's spoken word at the end of this. A song we've been trying to pay homage to for many years in this band is 'Waking the Witch' by Kate Bush. When the almost scary groove kicks in, there's this chopped-up, sort of frantic-sounding spoken word, which has always been such an evocative thing. We've always wanted to find a way to reference it.”
“Better If You Don't”
Martin Doherty: “This song was almost like a love letter to our lineage as musicians. What did we sound like when we were in Glasgow, even before CHVRCHES? And what does a Tuesday at 11 am in Glasgow sound like when it's raining so hard that you'd rather be anywhere else on Earth, but you still love it somehow? I actually wrote this song on a rare day in LA when it was pissing down and I was just watching the rain and singing, taking myself back to the old days.”
Lauren Mayberry: “When you can't go home to a place or a time, there's a grief to that. This song looks like a night out in rainy Glasgow when I was 22. I can't go back to any of that—it literally doesn't exist. I googled 'sad about the passing of time' and all these people said, '[That happens] to everyone. Get over it!'”
- source : Apple Music