“I suppose this album is about fear and confusion, but then moving forward from those things,” Lauren Mayberry tells Apple Music of CHVRCHES’ fourth record Screen Violence. “There’s a lot of discussion about being under the water, but it’s also about getting out of it.” That comes into sharp focus on “How Not to Drown,” an early teaser of the album, on which CHVRCHES are joined by one of their musical idols, The Cure’s Robert Smith. Hearing the track come together, says multi-instrumentalist Martin Doherty, was a life-changing experience. “It was a more intense version of the electricity the first time I heard Lauren singing on one of our beats,” he says. “It was like I’d gone right back to the first day of being in a band again. It was that feeling bottled up and intensified.” Elsewhere, on “He Said She Said,” a propulsive track on which synths and bass swirl and slam, CHRVCHES contemplate the ridiculous double standards to which women are held. “He said, ‘Get drunk, but don’t be a mess,’” sings Mayberry. “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
CHVRCHES began working on Screen Violence just before global lockdowns were declared across the world, forcing them to finish the album from behind their screens. That may have given the album’s title more resonance, although Mayberry says it was an early candidate for the band’s name as well, so people shouldn’t read too much into the timing. Yet the experience did help the band confront the subjects they were exploring head-on. “Being locked inside with your own thoughts and nowhere to go and nothing to distract you from that is a horrible thing,” notes Mayberry, “but it’s a good writing workshop once you survive it. It was probably good not to leave when I got uncomfortable. This record is honest, for better or worse.” Listen to “How Not to Drown” and “He Said She Said” now, then pre-add Screen Violence to your library to get the whole thing instantly when it’s released on August 27.