14 August 2010

Everything Everything - Man Alive

Everything Everything; the great white hope for Manchester music...except they're not actually from there. With members hailing from Newcastle and Kent, their tag as the latest part of the grand Manc-rock lineage (which, even as a Scouser, I am rather envious of) is a tad misleading. But since they actually formed in Mancunia, I'll let it slide.

To describe EE's and "Man Alive"'s sound without painting in brushstrokes broader than the defecit would be pretty tough. It has been called "indie R&B" which is quite accurate on superb singles "MY KZ, YR BF" and "Schoolin'". The latter could well be sold as a single (or at least a remix) from Jason Derulo or NeYo or whoever and you would happily believe that. At times the band sound something like Radiohead getting their funk on, if only because of frontman Jonathan Everything's (the band have all adopted the surname "Everything" a la The Ramones and to a lesser extent, The Fratellis) falsetto vocals, which could be a sticking point for some delicate-eared listeners.

Another 'Marmite' aspect is sure to be the often-undecipherable lyrics. I for one am looking forward to getting my hands on the CD booklet to work out what the hell they're going about. For example; "You’ve become a smithereen!/(I’m watching that!) Foxhound frolic on the abattoir floor, up in heaven it’s symmetrical oh/ Airbrush! What have you done with my father?/Why does he look like a carving?/How do I live in the present?/I make my own density?" from "Photoshop Handsome". "Suffragette Suffragette"'s refrain of "Who is gonna sit on your face when I'm not there?" will probably gain a mixed reaction from any WI members who happen to be listening, but its Biffy Clyro-esque structure and riffs should be enough to make them discard any outrage that may build.
Whilst the slick jerky pop may be the most common view of EE seen, "Final Form" and "Two For Nero" showcase a softer, if equally complex side. "NASA Is On Your Side" is the highlight of "Man Alive", hinting at Muse when they were still weird and good; all reverbed guitars, bouncing bass and an epic chorus all spread across five minutes and seven seconds of dreamlike alt.pop.

One of the best albums so far this year, "Man Alive" is a debut that had more than a bit of pre-release expectation on it, but that expectation has been met and surpassed, without a doubt. Tipped for great things in the deluge of industry shortlists released at the start of the year, Everything Everything have two possible career trajectories, based on "Man Alive". Either they'll head to the upper echelons of the charts, ushering in an era of intelligent, genre bending pop. Or more likely they'll become a bafflingly huge cult band, making intelligent genre-bending pop. Whichever path they end up on, they're sure to keep creating music that sounds more fresh and original than pretty much everything out there.
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: "MY KZ, YR BF", "QWERTY Finger", "Schoolin'", "Photoshop Handsome", "Two For Nero", "NASA Is On Your Side" FOR FANS OF: Radiohead, Muse, most bands classified as dance-punk

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