A Scottish synth pop trio who mix electronic beats with the angelic soaring vocals of Lauren Mayberry, CHVRCHES (pronounced: “churches”) recently released their solid third studio effort, Love is Dead. However, for this post, I’m focusing on my personal favorite album of theirs, their sophomore effort, 2015’s Every Open Eye. In truth, Every Open Eye isn’t really different from any other CHVRCHES release to date – it’s full of anthemic, beat heavy, synth pop songs. But, in my personal opinion, it’s their strongest album front to back (and arguably includes their best song “Clearest Blue”) which is why I bought the Newbury Comics exclusive vinyl run (only 750 were made) of the album a couple of years ago.
Besides the music that’s on it, the coolest thing about this specific vinyl release is its sharp pink color – I’d describe as a candy pink, or even a “Pepto Bismol” opaque pink that matches the hues on the record’s flowered, semi-pixelated artwork perfectly.
The vinyl itself is hefty, a full 180g pressing, and its housed in a solid gate-fold outer sleeve. The record is housed in a glossy paper sleeve adorned with the lyrics on the outside, a fact which is disappointing for a couple of reasons. I’d personally much rather have the lyrics sheet separate from the sleeve, and I much prefer the wax-lined inner sleeves to hold the vinyl to prevent dust and static. Unfortunately, that’s all you get in the package, there’s nothing extra, unless you count the small slip of paper that allows you to download a digital version of the record.
Every Open Eye was clearly produced for digital listening. Every instrument was mixed and mastered relatively high, which gives the digital/streamed copy of the album that glossy, sheeny production style that makes the album work so well when you’re wearing a good pair of headphones. Unfortunately, that same production technique doesn’t translate over too well over to the vinyl pressing. Because the beats are so compressed and lack low end to begin with, the bass levels are virtually non-existent when I spin this on the turntable. I had to turn both the volume and the bass way up on the sub-woofer to get any sort of dynamic sound over my speakers. I’m pretty sure that this record was mixed in line with its digital release, and that fact makes this an LP that you can’t really put on quietly in the background over speakers. You either go big by turning up the bass and volume, or you go home – a fact which has limited the amount of times that I’ve spun this record.
The fact that this was not mixed well for vinyl consumption has given me pause in purchasing many other recent pop albums on LP. Perhaps when I’m able to purchase a better stereo system and hi-fi, I’ll be able to make more significant adjustments to get the right sound out of this record specifically. Even though it was released nearly two years ago, the Newbury Comics website still shows that this version of Every Open Eye is in stock as of writing this post, though I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it at the full list price because you’re basically just paying for the limited run, cool color and nothing else.
Do you have this pressing of Every Open Eye, or do you own other CHVRCHES records on vinyl? If so, I’d be curious to know if others encounter the same sound issues that I did. Let me know, and thanks for reading!
If vinyl isn’t your thing, you can listen to the standard version of Every Open Eye below on Spotify: