I always find it weird when people say this is a disappointment compared to when CHVRCHES arrived with "The Bones Of What You Believe". Partly because CHVRCHES to me are one of those bands who arrived via their killer singles before they even put out the album, which feels like an afterthought by comparison (see also Haim, Lorde), and because this album is way better. Granted, this album doesn't have the killer two punch of "The Mother We Share" & "Gun", but as per my earlier point, I don't feel like "The Bones..." earned those two singles anyway.
"Every Open Eye" still wins in general anyhow. No longer are we looking at a Side A-heavy album bogged down by having to sit through filler at the end; the highlights are rather scattered here and the rest is a clear improvement anyhow. It feels an obvious progression with it being loaded by meatier synths and rarely a song that doesn't have an impressive hook to come along with it. As a bonus, Martin's vocal contributions on the couple of tracks he leads on, are considerably stronger this time around.
Of course, it's Lauren who shines the most, most often. She sounds powerful and commanding on every track she leads, making some strong highlights from "Playing Dead" and "Keep You On My Side" which instantly stuck out for me with their terrific melodies.
A lot of synth pop albums underwhelm me as a full package, but this is one that absolutely delivers. Second albums can be difficult too, but it's clear with this that CHVRCHES look to be sticking around for the long run.