CHVRCHES – “Clearest Blue” (Singles Going Steady)

"Clearest Blue" is a sky-piercing synthpop anthem that behaves so intoxicatingly of-the-moment that to call it timeless would be half-insulting.

Pryor Stroud: Despite its putative meekness, Lauren Mayberry’s voice runs heedlessly at barriers and blasts through them, yet it leaves no sonic debris behind it, only shorelines of retreating shadow and pockets of air so compressedly swollen that bursting them would be an act of mercy. The first word of Every Open Eye‘s standout track “Clearest Blue” is “light,” and the concise yet thoroughly majestic patience of the phrasing, that audible tongue-to-teeth punctuation that spins eons of hurt and redemption into a monosyllabic moment, encapsulates Mayberry’s artistry at its best. One could argue that this word — and Mayberry’s manipulation of it — resonates beneath almost all of CHVRCHES still-nascent discography. It is a word that certainly runs headfirst through the rest of “Clearest Blue”, a sky-piercing synthpop anthem that behaves so intoxicatingly of-the-moment that to call it timeless would be half-insulting. The piston-pounding breakdown shortly after the two minute mark has already inspired rapturous acclaim, and deservedly so. It’s a sequence that breathes new meaning into Mario Savio’s famous injunction to Berkeley students in the ’60s to throw “your bodies upon the gears”, except now, in CHVRCHES’ hands, this throwing is no longer an act of rebel-hearted defiance. Savio’s machine is no longer an administrative apparatus repressing the energies of the youth, but rather one that collects and amplifies these energies, restructuring the “bodies upon the gears” idiom — flesh on metal, flesh on metal, to the beat — into a clarion call for emotional rebirth. [9/10]

Emmanuel Elone: CHVRCHES comes through with a solid electro-pop record on this one. Though the synth-led beat is a bit too repetitive and the vocals forgettable somewhat, “Clearest Blue” is meant for the now. It’s young and fun, meant for long nights and dance parties; sometimes, that’s all you really need. [5/10]

Chad Miller: At this point, CHVRCHES understand synthpop to a T. The song flows effortlessly all the way through, and Mayberry does a great job keeping up with the tracks energy and bringing out the strong lyrics. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: Like Abba or Erasure, this sounds like something I should feel guilty for liking, but I can’t help it because it’s just too catchy and infectious. It works on the dance floor, in your car, while you’re folding laundry, whatever. I’m definitely getting an Erasure vibe from the synths. Bubbly and catchy – the feelgood hit of 2016? [7/10]

SCORE: 7.25

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