Everything Everything – New Album – ‘Arc’

8 Jan

“a sense of the sheer diverse capabilities of these musicians.”

Everything EverythingDue for release on the 14th of this month, this 13 track album from Manchester-Guernsey amalgamation Everything Everything is a scorcher. I’m going to tip this as one of this year’s best albums (you heard it here first, folks).

There’s no hanging around with this lot. The Super Mario-esque synth teamed with a jazzy bass and guitar combo of ‘Cough Cough’ is addictive, as are Jonathon Higgs’ vocals of the verse. The call and response vocals of the chorus are surely a prospective dance floor favourite, and the marching-band style drum work hints at the interesting variation in styles this band has to offer.

Follow up track ‘Kemosabe’ is a clean example of contemporary indie pop for the masses. Eerie staccato synths are teamed with some busy drum work, but I can’t help but feel that it sounds a little manufactured. I can only assume that the incredibly high vocals are the result of at least 3 staples per leg, but it all works really nicely. It’s a good follow up track, just a little overshadowed by the brilliance of ‘Cough Cough’ – but it was always going to be a tough act to follow anyway.

‘Torso of the Week’ has a classic RnB vibe to the intro; the kick and snare combing with some soft synth chords, flowing unsuspectingly into a metallic mix of minor bass scales, muted guitar and a tang of emotion to the vocals. From such a mellow intro, it takes a dark turn and goes all Placebo. The dampened guitar work and heavy bassline works on its own, but I can’t help but feel that the song could have, or should have followed in the footsteps of the classy intro. As we’ve come to expect by now, the vocals are typically on form.

Listening through the album from track to track, you start to get a sense of the sheer diverse capabilities of these musicians; it’s incredibly impressive to have such a solid range of styles. ‘Duet’ is something different from what we’ve heard so far. This is altogether a more upbeat song, the vocals share a resemblance to Maximo Park’s Paul Smith. Yet again they’ve managed to conjure up another beauty, this time incorporating a base of soft strings into the mix (whether they are coming from a Mac or not is irrelevant by now). One thing I’ve picked up is that there’s no conventional drum patterns, no boring guitar work, and the vocals always seem to surprise me.

Now, on to my favourite track of the album; ‘Choice Mountain’ has a slick muted guitar riff, and manages to get a synth accordian in the mix without sounding like a Clouseau scene. This is euphoric-indie-pop-wonderfulness at its best. There’s some really smooth bass work too, it’s nice to see someone break away from the common lazy-bassist work ethic.

‘Feet for Hands’ takes a new direction again, sounding distinctly Muse-y, but with their own signature vocals and energy. The acoustic guitar has been dusted off for this one too, which gives a crisp undertone to an otherwise eerie melody. I really like the way this band takes the ordinary and puts it in a sub-genre washing machine – there’s so much going on in this album that it’s tricky to put a definitive label on their style.

‘Undrowned’ sounds like a warped nursery rhyme, but not one that you’d want to sing to your kids, with ‘First boy I think you should know, if you try hard then you might get a job as a doe eyed, impressionless mind’ as the first verse. It’s a pretty strange song, to be honest. Again though, I’ll admit they’ve pulled another original sound out of the bag – fair play lads.

And so to the title track ‘Arc’. There’s some deep sub bass that suggests some darker, metal material from the group. Another signature eerie synth – this time a cello – comes in, providing a droning melody that actually has more of a sense of hope than of doom. At only 1:25 long, this instrumental would probably be labelled as a filler track, but it’s more than that. Listening to the album from start to finish, this actually fits in really well, it cools things down a little. 

‘Armourland’ is something else, it really is. I’ve lost count of the amount of times they’ve surprised me now. A very Toro Y Moi style off-beat and cut-off backing track is met by some smooth vocals that seem to have more tonal variation than a seismograph during an earthquake. Another nice addition to their bag of tricks. The chorus is a real power ballad, but doesn’t sound cheesy. There’s clearly a lot of computer trickery going on behind the scenes with this cookie, but with a track like this it only benefits from a bit of tampering.

The resonating bass of ‘The House is Dust’ is incredible; I imagine it sounds even more so when played live. This is a more chilled out track, and altogether more minimalistic, focussing on the bass and vocals.

‘Radiant’ is another pearl from the album that stands out to me. It’s got a hint of The Killers to it, with the keyboard providing backing to a jumpy drum beat, and a lively bass line. As always, the vocals are absolutely sublime with this one too. The verse remains largely minimal, as I’ve become accustomed to with this band. It makes the chorus really impact on the song, instead of just blending in.

Again, with the penultimate track ‘The Peaks’ there’s a Toro Y Moi style beat, met by some vocals that are causing me to run out of both adjectives and superlatives. If you’ve heard of Sampha, there’s a similarity in sound there. This track carries a hefty bass line once more, but is not overpowering. A clean piano chord pattern sets the tone of the track, and as the trance synth’s build, it seems to give a nod to Elbow with the crescendo of bliss that carries the song to it’s abrupt end.

Another stand out track for me is the finale ‘Don’t Try’. A poppy Two Door Cinema Club style bassline and bouncy drum beat meets some smooth harmonies of ‘Don’t try to hide it’ and the occasional ‘hey’ that suggests they’re really just having fun with this track.

A masterpiece, a deviation from the norm, and an extraordinary example of music and unquestionable talent; Arc is worth its weight in gold. 

By Freddie Holmes

@FreddieH1

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2 Responses to “Everything Everything – New Album – ‘Arc’”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. ‘Everything Everything’ aren’t the same as everything else. « Freddie Holmes - January 8, 2013

    […] This is why I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peek at their upcoming album ‘Arc’, thanks to The Underclassed. You can check it out here.  […]

  2. ‘Everything Everything’ isn’t the same as everything else « Freddie Holmes - January 9, 2013

    […] This is why I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peek at their upcoming album ‘Arc’, thanks to The Underclassed. You can check it out here. […]

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