“Realising that you’ve made an album that you love so much with your bandmates and collaborators of 10 years is the ultimate reality check,” says CHVRCHES’ Martin Doherty of the band’s new LP, released today (August 27). “Because at the end of the journey, you’re like, ‘Oh my god, look at all these fucking amazing things that we’ve done.’”
The arrival of ‘Screen Violence’, the fourth album from the Scottish synth-poppers – vocalist Lauren Mayberry and multi-instrumentalists Doherty and Iain Cook – feels like a real cause for celebration. The follow-up to 2018’s ‘Love Is Dead’ was recorded after an extended hiatus for the trio, which Mayberry has previously described to NME as when she “pushed the panic button on the band.” And this 10-track collection doesn’t attempt to mask references to the rocky times of isolation and tension that came before; as goth-rock belter ‘Final Girl’ and its horror movie trope referencing title suggests, the band have been through an uphill battle to survive.
“We wanted a feeling of disturbance to be in the record. And [‘Final Girl’] is probably the most knowing wink to that kind of imagery,” says Mayberry. “I like the idea that you can visualise a final girl running for the horizon, and everybody that listening is like, ‘Fuck, is she going to make it?’
“But as much as the record has some heavy themes, I feel like a lot of it is about perseverance and hope, and trying to make it beyond that horizon.”
Doherty adds: “I love the idea of the final girl; you’re saying: ‘here we are at a junction – and we’ve been through some shit’. Because not only does it make sense in the context of this whole aesthetic, metaphorically, it’s fucking genius.”
Making the album also gave the band the space and time to broaden the sonic universe of CHVRCHES. Inspired by the “fantasy qualities” of classic horrors, they worked with what Doherty describes as “spacey production” to conjure the idea of exorcising dread and fear through dreaming. As Mayberry explains: “I’ve always been really drawn to horror movies. I think that they help you to unpack things, especially all of that worry in your subconscious; maybe that’s why we’re all attracted to them, because we’re all terrified of something.”
To learn more about the record, the band took NME through a track-by-track guide of ‘Screen Violence’. Watch above as they reveal the stories and inspirations behind all of the songs on the album.