“Leave A Trace” – CHVRCHES

One of the big music surprises of 2013, on multiple levels, were CHVRCHES. Their opening single, “The Mother We Share,” came out of nowhere and was an utter delight. Still, it felt like a bit of a novelty, unlikely to be followed by anything else as engaging. The second surprise came with the release of their first full-length album, The Bones Of What You Believe. While “Mother” was its best track, the rest of the album was excellent, led by a three-song, opening salvo that was as good as anything else released that year.

They added yet another surprise last month with the release of their second album, Every Eye Open. I’m not sure why so many doubted them, but it is another extremely strong effort, front-to-back. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry has become a feminist icon along the way, thanks to her emphatic denunciations of the objectification of women in pop culture.