Track Review – Leave A Trace / CHVRCHES

‘Leave A Trace’ is the first single from underrated electronic pop act CHVRCHES who released a solid album: The Bones Of What You Believe, back in 2013. ‘Leave A Trace’ is classic CHVRCHES, but it fails to raise standards beyond ‘The Mother We Share’ and ‘Gun’ single-worthy standards. Generally the deeper cuts on The Bones of What You Believe were some of the better tracks, and it looks likely to happen again. ‘Leave A Trace’ features the same male-vocal, foggy bridge, skittering electronics and Lauren Mayberry’s powerful vocals as anything else CHVRCHES could have released. Mayberry’s voice still demands attention; her lyrics are also one of the better parts of CHVRCHES, where she admits ‘You talk too much’ and ‘I know I need to feel relief’.

However, in other areas, it’s the instrumentation that lets down the track. The drums could easily have been copied and pasted over from ‘Gun’ or ‘Lies’, which shows little has evolved in terms of their style at all. It’s still an electronic band aiming for the top 40 and ‘Leave A Trace’ is likely to hit the charts, and has a surprising amount of substance beneath the warm, bubbly electronics, often shocking with a biting lyric. Where CHVRCHES excel is making a pop song icy and dark, and for the most part ‘Leave A Trace’ does this. However, the instrumentation is very recognisable and the same formulas are being put to use – most of all the entirely unnecessary male vocals that pop up every now and again in a CHVRCHES song. On ‘Leave A Trace’ this mostly goes unnoticed because Mayberry is singing over the singer, which dwarfs whatever input the male singer has into the song with her much-better vocals.

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