Everything Everything, the British indie pop quartet, has released their second album, Arc, and if it is anything like the band’s debut Man Alive, an award winning and heavily nominated album, then Everything Everything is on their way to even more stateside success. With it being January, we’re all eager to see what comes our way in the new year musically. Everything Everything did not disappoint.
Man Alive also earned an Ivor Novello Award nomination for Best Album while the single “MY KZ, UR BF” received a nomination for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. “Man Alive” additionally was nominated to win the 2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize. It is pretty obvious that Everything Everything’s fan base has been eagerly awaiting the sophomore release of ARC. News of a possible leak on January 11, three days before the LP release, had fans in a frenzy on the internet on certain websites, seeking downloadable URLS for the band’s songs. Thankfully for Everything Everything, this matter was squared away and the album was dropped on its intended date through Sony RCA on January 14, 2013.
The album opens with “Cough Cough,” the first single dropped on October of 2012. This is a very kicky track with Jonathan Higgs reaching that upper pitch in his voice in some parts of the song. This very drum heavy tune will have the audience thinking Maroon 5 has gotten really, really indie (and much cooler). The coughing at the end of the tune gave this reviewer a good chuckle. Jonathan Higgs, who counts Radiohead, Nirvana, The Beatles, Destiny’s Child, and R. Kelly as his influences, sure sings like a blend of Peter Gabriel and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. On “Kemosabe,” the bands second single to be released, it was not just Higgs singing like Peter Gabriel that was getting called to attention; the band seemed to call up Peter Gabriel in his “Shock the Monkey” and “Steam” phase instrumentally as well. There is nothing at all wrong with this - in fact, I so enjoyed the song I’m using it as a text tone. Higgs’ gets right up there with his timbre and it sends shivers down my spine.
There are a couple of lapses on ARC, such as “Choice Mountain.” The track is just OK, and it would have been a great song on maybe another one of Everything Everything’s albums, but on this particular LP it just does not fit. “Choice Mountain” has too much of a retro feel to it, and the instrumentals feel as though they are slacking. It’s misdirected. Although Higgs sounds great, the tune is waning. Additionally, “Torso of the Week” is just downright strange. The lyrics, “Girl you been hitting the treadmill like a freak / Baby you’re not quite the torso of the week,” do not make the most sense to me, even after listening over three times. I’m assuming the girl the guy is interested in is not doing enough work on herself? She just can’t get those 6-pack abs? Well, is this a reason to dump her?
For those two slight gaffes, the rest of the LP is solid. The track “Radiant” is a slow-ish yet convivial track with lively drumbeats and synths thrown in for some engaging measure. I get the picture this is a song which tells the audience something with a chorus that says, “You can make a difference so easy / Make a difference but you don’t / You never tell me anything real now / You never have time to watch it all.” All in all, ARC is a great sophomore debut and I feel as though there will be no “sophomore slump.”
Everything Everything proved themselves on Man Alive and have no reason to prove themselves again. Their merit is out there and they have a solid reputation as musicians. Although moving stateside is typically difficult for new artists, there should not be any problems with Everything Everything, especially since they have awards and nominations to back them from their first LP. Indie/Math/Prog/Pop/Synth rockers are very popular in the UK, as well as The United States. Frankly, I love getting the music we do from England. Everything Everything is right there on that list.
1. Cough Cough
3. Torso of the Week
5. Choice Mountain
6. Feet for Hands
10. The House is Dust
12. The Peaks
13. Don’t Try