It takes a wise bunch to realise that if you want to sound bigger and brighter and straight-up better on your second time around the block as a band, tasked with following up an impressive and heartily received debut that made you cult-adored keyboard-pop kingpins, you have to go against your gut. Sometimes the best way to make more massive than before is to resist the temptation to add layers and instead ruthlessly strip back instead, reducing it all to just the key, killer components.
It’s that mantra – keep it simple and forget all the extra bullshit – that underpins Chvrches’ new single ‘Leave A Trace’, which premiered earlier this evening. A masterclass in less-is-more, it finds the Scottish trio sounding more human than they did on 2013’s debut ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’, but more mighty, too.
Like Michael Jackson’s work with Quincy Jones (cited by the band themselves as a huge inspiration), or Prince circa-’1999’, everything sounds simple and everything sounds huge, with its relentless clanging of robotic drums and faded, squirreling synths that sound dimmed and broken-down during the verse but suddenly burst into technicolor when the chorus hits.
“There are tiny cracks of light underneath me and you,” sings frontwoman Lauren Mayberry, before delivering a fuck-you ka-pow to some timewaster who’s dragging her down. “You think I’ll apologise for things I left behind, but you got it wrong… You took so much for someone so unkind,” she crows, while the noise behind her sparkles and spits with raw energy. Speaking to NME about the track, Mayberry declared: “It’s like our fight song.” You’ve all been warned, then: try getting in its way and there’ll be trouble. Check it out above and let us know your thoughts.