CHVRCHES ‘Screen Violence’ Review – Horror Never Sounded So Euphoric

The first time I heard of CHVRCHES was in 2016 through video games of all things: “Warning Call,” the soaring theme for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. I was one of, like, 10 people who wanted a sequel to Mirror’s Edge so this kind of stuck. Then, while cruising past some fools in Forza Horizon 3, on came “Clearest Blue” and that Depeche Mode-style beat drop poured in like confetti. And I haven’t even gotten to their fiery collaboration with Paramore’s Hayley Williams.

As a band, I never knew what to make of Chvrches. I only liked 3 songs off of Love Is Dead but was otherwise infatuated with their elegant covers. Once I heard the tie-in song to Death Stranding, I started listening INTENTLY. (Any group that can make Hideo Kojima cry has my undivided attention.)

The moves they made in the leadup to their newest album definitely piqued my interest. The Cure’s Robert Smith lends some guest vocals on the LP, plus a dual collaboration with horror maestro-turned-composer John Carpenter. Now THOSE are some power moves for a Scottish pop-trio you thought you had figured out by now. With Screen Violence, Chvrches defies barriers and expectations, traversing a sci-fi horror synth-scape with the sunny optimism of a John Hughes movie. It’s no wonder they turn to film over video games for inspiration. Their sound has blossomed into something unbearably cinematic.

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Adrian’s Comfort Playlist Pt. I

I have a saying: “When in sheer agonizing self-doubt… put on some music.” Music has been an extremely therapeutic tool for me (like, actually sitting down and listening to music and nothing else), even more so nowadays. Sometimes music weathers the mood, other times encompasses it. These are some very solitary days we have ahead of us and so full of uncertainty. If we’re gonna be stuck in our homes for a while, then I’ll need a soundtrack to blot out the gloom of the news.

Fortunately, I freakin’ love making playlists full-stop. (Back when we used to burn CDs, I was your guy.) I’ve stuck by a select set of songs these past two weeks that I’ve since dubbed as my Comfort Playlist and I felt like passing them along. Not to brag, but I’ve been told I have TERRIBLE taste in music. Here’s a current collection of songs that have helped me allay some of today’s dread. Continue reading

PVRIS – ‘All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell’ Review

There’s nothing more perilous for a band on the rise than the dreaded sophomore slump. You’ve had a successful debut and are now expected to replicate that success. That pressure can either be debilitating, or liberating. PVRIS (pronounced “Paris”) came into the alternative spotlight in 2014 with White Noise – a lush, atmospheric fusion of electro-pop rock (think Evanescence’s gothic style, with Paramore’s catchy hooks). Their second effort, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, refines their rough edges and explores a deeper, far more cutting emotional terrain. If White Noise hinted at the band’s scars, All We Know is them peeling away the bandages and revealing their wounded souls.  Continue reading

Blink-182 – ‘California Deluxe’ Album Review

No other band has been more influential in pop-punk than blink-182. Their trademark verve spawned a slew of imitators, none nearly as innovative as Blink was in their prime. Last year’s California was a bold reintroduction and a promising sign of life in the wake of one member’s unfortunate departure. Rejuvenated, it appears the band is taking in a victory lap with an encore-reissue of California. Spoiling us with 11 new tracks, California Deluxe proves that their collaboration with Matt Skiba was no fluke, and the re-release has arrived just in time for another round of summer.  Continue reading

Linkin Park – ‘One More Light’ Album Review

There are two sides to every fandom: the “die-hard” and the “true” fan. The former sticks with a band through thick and thin, while the latter longs for the good ol’ glory days. With the release of Linkin Park’s seventh studio album, the rift in fandom has never been more potent, or hostile. While fans (including myself) are fretting over where they stand, either with this new poppy iteration of the band or the one that gave them Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park has made a firm commitment on where they reside artistically with One More LightContinue reading