Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Everything Everything - Arc

Coming out of Manchester with a boom in 2010, Everything Everything’s Man Alive broke the top 20 and saw them tour extensively in support of it to cement their places as more than a hype-act. From the hooks of Suffragette Suffragette through the whistles of Schoolin’ via the borderline unsingable singalong of My KZ Ur BF, Man Alive erupted with a kind of energy and sound that the likes of Dirty Projectors championed and Alt-J have since re-tuned to their Mercury winning benefits. Almost 30 months later and the four-piece are back with Arc. Cough Cough exuded the jumpy excitement of a child on strawberry laces and reignited the fire that EE left behind, so what does the rest of this record have to offer? 

Well, once you get past the distinctly boring cover that looks like Jamie Hewlett attempting to use photography to portray the mundanity of life; you’re greeted once more with the nonsensical power that is Cough Cough. Kemosabe, the second single follows (is it just me or is that pretty lazy decision making?) with a pulse that builds to a sound that’s almost Tune-Yards.

From here on out though, Arc is a different album. Those who heard the indie-hits of Man Alive and expected the same from Cough Cough onwards are going to be pleasantly mistaken as what you get from Everything Everything’s second effort is a record not built on juvenilities and crowd expanding radio belters, but instead on taking the most enjoyable and fun aspects of their music and maturing them into a record that sounds expansive to the point that the album is not so much coercive as it is defined and structured.

What starts as fear for what could have easily been an average album through Torso of the Week quickly becomes, well, everything else. Whilst some of the music you’ll hear on Arc can make you question if the band still have that catchy vibe they used to, the impending doom that crescendos through the likes of Undrowned and cascades over the serene _Arc_ leads to Armourland which is little short of magical. It forces you to dance in about three different manners, jumping from side to side before swirling in the romance of the refrain before most-likely embracing all around you as it dissolves into This House is Dust and beyond. Let’s not even get started on how life affirming The Peaks is. 

They’ve done it then, the Manchester foursome. They’ve made an album that manages to balance the indie/dance/pop/experimental with radio playability and pure integrity. It’s not perfect, but we’ll be hard pressed to remember 2012 if more albums come like Arc this year. 


Braden Fletcher

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