Over the past few years, The National’s Matt Berninger has put himself in some positions you wouldn’t quite expect. First, he formed an upbeat, often sexy side-project in EL VY with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls, and now he appears on the new Chvrches single.
Far from a stranger to the band - Berninger and vocalist Lauren Mayberry have dueted on National track ‘I Need My Girl’ at a handful of shows, and conducted various joint interviews - the link-up, on new track ‘My Enemy’, makes far more sense than it might at first glance.
A slower, more contemplative counterpart to the sky-reaching, ballsy ‘Get Out’, Matt and Lauren’s voices prove a near-perfect pair. It’s clear by now that Berninger’s vocals have their own magnetic pull, no matter the soundtrack they fit with, and the melancholic stabs of reverb-drenched percussion in the intro to ‘My Enemy’ worm around his typically sombre vocals, opening with the line “I got no more time to hear what you think about me” and not getting any more forgiving from there.
A gorgeous, understated chorus-of-sorts from Mayberry then ushers its way in, using restraint as its greatest weapon, and proving the perfect tonic to the chart-mingling punch of ‘Get Out’. There’s always been many sides to Chvrches, but ‘My Enemy’ is the first true example of the trio countering their chorus-driven, synth-pop bangers with something slower but just as affecting.