CD: Everything Everything – Arc | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Everything Everything – Arc
Fidgety, exasperating second album from 2011 Mercury nominees
Up to this point it’s all gone swimmingly for Manchester-based quartet Everything Everything. Their debut album Man Alive charted high in the summer of 2010, but follow-up Arc is the test of whether they’re in for the long haul. Although the answer is largely in the hands of their strong fan base, the unfocused Arc suggests the band themselves aren’t sure of who they are.
It’s difficult to stand still while paddling furiously, but that’s what Arc sounds like – a band with a million-and-one ideas and no overriding sense of unity. Not only does it fail to take them beyond Man Alive, it dilutes what they were about.
Much feels familiar: Jonathan Higgs’ voice, like Peter Gabriel-meets-Thom Yorke; the ubiquitous post-Vampire Weekend west African touches; the twitchy, scratchy percussion and stabby keyboards of mid-Eighties crossover dance-pop. Opening cut “Cough Cough", issued as single last year, is the entry point. A bets-hedging almost-anthem, it suggests Everything Everything have stadia in their sights. Which would be fine if that was all they had on their minds; it might allow Arc to create a mood and reel in listeners. Instead, nothing is allowed to stay in one place for long, let alone outstay its welcome. Impressions flit past: “Duet”'s odd bits of Snow Patrol; “Feet For Hands” borrowing Muse’s drama; “Armourland”'s echo of Howard Jones.
By singing at the limit of his range, Higgs presumably intends to convey drama and emotion, but over a whole album the formula wears thin. The yearning “The House is Dust” is, however, allowed to follow its nose and consequently lingers. Decoupled from the album, individual tracks might make sense live - but as a whole Arc has no, well, arc.
Watch a suitably fragmented promo for Everything Everything’s Arc
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
It's music you've heard before, but it never sounded like this
Noisy Americans produce a feral blues masterpiece
Album number three from hip hop's controversial pop empress
A festive launch for our regular vinyl reviews
The album of the year was released TODAY? Better believe it...
John Grant’s past catches up with him
Amongst a plethora of whip-smart releases Nick Mulvey's debut wins out
Retro-futurist nostalgia proves a festive treat with the Human League
An open Swedish mind and well-tuned ear creates a Christmas soundtrack of sumptuous eclecticism
Jolly festive folk concert from Fairport Convention's annually recurring spin-off
What does Christmas with the funk legends sound like? Any other day…
Exclusive images from the Sing Blue Silver tour 30 years ago