Glasgow electronic synth-pop trio CHVRCHES dropped their sophomore album “Every Open Eye” last Friday, Sept. 25. Their first full-length release since 2013’s “The Bones of What You Believe,” it faced a tough challenge of living up to the mammoth single “The Mother We Share.” Nothing on that first album was nearly as good as the song that put the group on the map—that is, the map of internationally everywhere—but it established a style and a feeling so clean and distinctive that the group was able to shoot from “derivative” to “influential”—according to The Atlantic—in the space of two short years. This second album is at once effusive and meticulous, forgoing an attempt to overshadow early success but rather hammering in the CHVRCHES sound we know and love through consistency and energy among their tracks.

Both of the first two songs, “Never Ending Circles” and “Leave a Trace,” are satisfying to those craving the fresh but somewhat sinister CHVRCHES sounds. In the first, a long instrumental intro acts as a fanfare into the experience. The second is more forthcoming about its pop identity, with the synthesizers not emerging much until two verses in and the vocals hitting more of an alto register than the usual high soars. However, upon reaching track four, you get an “Ah, we’ve arrived” feeling. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry has described it as anthemic, which makes sense considering its rousing, inspirational chorus—“We are breathing and letting go / We will take the best parts of ourselves / And make them gold.” Although it edges on being too peppy, considering the visceral assertiveness of other relationship-based tunes, it is buoyed by the darkness of the underlying synths and its unpredictability through the bridge. It allows the music itself to empower, rather than relying on trite aphorisms.

The album overall is a terrifically smooth listen. At a point, though, it becomes too streamlined, as the similarity of several songs makes them bleed into each other. An exception is “High Enough to Carry You Over,” which grabs your ears as the only track Mayberry’s vocals do not appear. Martin Doherty takes over instead, which fits well for this song’s continual “hadn’t given you up” refrain. As a tenor, he contrasts less with the instrumentals to give a faded, unassuming effect. Also a treat is “Empty Threat,” thankfully fast and crystal clear with Mayberry’s best vocals on the album.

It all ends with “Afterglow,” which was clearly written to be an album closer. Whereas other songs use grandeur in moderation. The ballad uses no rhythm, just continuous long organ-like notes under her cosmic lyrics unpacking a relationship’s temporal difficulties: “With all of the light and space / We take up our own space / I’ll find my own way back / Back to the past tense.” I wish the album closed, thought, with the bonus track “Bow Down,” which is the actual final song on the special edition album. An escalating, motivating album like “Every Open Eye” deserves one last dance, and while “Afterglow” leaves you pleasantly mellowed out, “Bow Down” preserves the band’s cornerstone pathos with the same edgy pulse of tracks prior.

The strength and empowerment emulating from the album is not surprising coming from Mayberry, who has demonstrated her unwillingness to accept degradation. In 2013 Mayberry, who holds degrees in both law and journalism, wrote an op-ed in The Guardian about harassment and misogynistic messages directed towards her that the band had received online following the release of her first album. “My hopes are that if anything good comes out of this, it will start a conversation, or continue the conversation which is already happening, encouraging others to reject an acceptance of the status quo,” Mayberry wrote. Her response is like much of the album—measured, thoughtful, steadfast and eloquent.

CHVRCHES may reject the status quo when it is harmful, but they have done a real job of embracing what already works in their music and making it gold.