Track Review: Chvrches – How Not To Drown (feat. Robert Smith)

Synth-pop prodigies, Chvrches, return with Robert Smith at their disposal in new track, How Not To Drown.

When a song begins with the lyrics, “I’m writing a book on how to stay conscious when you drown,” you better believe you aren’t listening to Cliff Richard. The lyrical themes of desperation are rife in this latest offering, and are personified by the dramatic drums and haunting piano loops throughout the track – Chvrches have drums and loops aplenty!

Recruiting the legendary, Robert Smith, for supplementary vocal work is testimony to how far the Glaswegian group have come in the past decade. The enrolment of the iconic goth must have been a dream realised for the group, as their music is inherently inspired by The Cure. Smith’s baritone voice is the perfect antithesis to Lauren Mayberry’s staccato soprano, adding a dark yet warming atmosphere that Mayberry’s vocals ordinarily struggle to elicit – the combination is spinetingling.

A quality chorus is a chorus one can almost recite after a single listen, and How Not To Drown embodies that je ne sais quoi. Its chanted vocal delivery is driven by the hard bass lines and subtle synths, and the catchy pop chorus will undoubtedly make this latest effort highly radio-friendly.

The outro is a bit of a damp squib, however. One can appreciate that Chvrches wanted to get their bang for buck from Smith’s cameo, but his inclusion is overkill towards the track’s end. The closing reverb is also as echoey as Chvrches’ native Hamilton Mausoleum. The group went for operatic and climactic but settled for muddled and confused. However, despite this minor oversight, How Not To Drown is an outstanding track.


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