IT’S astonishing to think that Chvrches have only been active for three years, such has been their meteoric ascent. The Glasgow-based synthpop trio’s debut record The Bones of What You Believe managed to break the UK top 10, an incredible DIY accomplishment by a band that recorded and produced everything themselves.

To call follow-up record Every Open Eye a “typical” sounding Chvrches record is therefore a compliment more than anything. Whereas the band were compared to Depeche Mode or fellow 80s revivalists on their debut, now they’re simply compared to Chvrches.

If anything, the recent rise of fellow Scottish acts like Prides suggests that their minimal-yet-powerful pop sound is the new blueprint. Every Open Eye acknowledges this, representing a logical continuation in the trio’s sound – but it also raises the bar.

Lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry might have sounded defiant on the first record but here she’s downright motivational. Her open experiences with online sexism mean that several tracks here are even more stirring in context. On Leave a Trace, which she herself describes as a “middle finger mic-drop”, Mayberry sounds more assured than ever, while on Bury It she shrieks at the listener with a rallying cry of “bury it and rise above”.

These lyrics reflect a real clarity and confidence that manifests itself in every aspect of this record. Chvrches sound bigger than ever but their compositions are ironically more trim. Tracks like Clearest Blue and Empty Threat use fewer elements to convey more emotional depth.

Iain Cook and Martin Doherty’s synthesised melodies and rhythms are polished and pristine but never repetitive. Considering the pair’s past involvement with bands like Aereogramme and The Twilight Sad, it’s remarkable that the songs are structured in such a hard-hitting manner.

Make Them Gold is a good example, as the synthesised stabs of the melody are notated in a slightly unorthodox pattern that allows Mayberry to use the space to proclaim that “we will take the best parts of ourselves and make them gold”.

This feels conscious – the backing melodies and beats here are never designed to overwhelm, rather providing a conscious backdrop for the frontwoman in a way that is more discernible. Mayberry came across as more personal on Bones; on Every Open Eye she feels somewhat elevated.

That doesn’t mean this is the Lauren Mayberry Show – like on Bones, Doherty does also pop up for his token vocal spot. His crooning on the electro-flavoured High Enough to Carry You Over proves to be an unexpected highlight and a vast improvement on his performance for Bones. A more accurate description would be that Mayberry is the beacon that guides this album’s musical ambitions, whereas it was previously the other way around. Rarely has a Scottish record, even a Scottish pop record, sounded so emphatic in its sincerity.

Chvrches have veered away from the dangers of a sophomore slump and crafted an album that accentuates their best points. Every Open Eye is a fearless second album that pushes boundaries but still sounds uncompromisingly authentic.