EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – Man Alive (Geffen)

I had heard a few tracks by Everything Everything on their Myspace pages, and I liked what I heard enough to await this album with some anticipation. While I was at first a bit wary of Jonathan Everything’s falsetto vocals, it is nowhere near as grating as Hayden Thorpe’s of Wild Beasts, and besides that the music is good enough for me to put up with what could have been something of a minor stumbling block. In fact, at the beginning of ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ he even sounds a bit like Peter Gabriel (!), so it can’t be that bad, and this is certainly the track to hear if you want to get a feel of what the band sound like. I have never heard a song with such a weird verse structure, followed by such a great chorus. It shouldn’t really work at all, but in the end you stick with the verses just to get to that chorus, and it is the perfect song with which to open the album. ‘Qwerty Finger’ (that was so easy to type – just run your finger along the top line of the keyboard!) is a more conventionally structured song, although still with an idiosyncratic touch to it. ‘Schoolin’’ is more XTC stutter rock, once again welding some Frippertronic guitar-fuelled verses to an oddly catchy chorus, and ‘Leave The Engine Room’ is the first time the band take a breath, but this slower song seems to lack the infectious melody of the previous ones. ‘Photoshop Handsome’ is an infectious New Wave-style rocker, with the band bringing out the heavy rock guitars for the ending, and then ‘Two For Nero’ pulls everything right back for a beguiling ballad. Another XTC-style guitar line fuels ‘Suffragette Suffragette’, before the huge riffs take over for a few seconds, and then alternate back and forth between the two. And is Jonathan really singing ‘Who’s gonna sit on your face when I’m gone, who’s gonna sit on your face when I’m not there’ – I have listened intently and it certainly sounds like it. ‘Come Alive Diana’s catchy chorus is offset by some decidedly weird guitar effects, but once again the song comes across as much more than just a sum of its parts. ‘NASA Is On Your Side’ is another of those early tracks which has been beefed up for the album, and now boasts an epic chorus, while ‘Tin (The Manhole)’ has been left pretty much as it was – obviously they got it right first time – and remains a lovely, fluttering ballad. They end with ‘Weights’, which is like a vocal/drum duel, each matching the other note for note at the start of the song, before settling down and supporting each other and the rest of the band in this quirky little piece. If I had to sum up this album in one word it would have to be ‘unique’ – there is just not another band around at the moment who sound anything like them, and in this day and age that it something to be proud of. I will be the first to admit that this music is so unusual that it might not click on first hearing, but like all the best albums it gets better with each listen, so reserve judgement until you have given it a fair chance and I promise that you will be impressed with their sheer inventiveness and ambition.
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