Everything Everything Everything EverythingMan Alive
Do you remember when you used to buy a record and you would play it for a month, learning the words and every note? We got over that. Do you remember when a band’s first album was capable of changing the musical panorama? Got over that, too. Do you remember when it was cool to say the EP was better than the band’s debut? We even got over that. And it’s not only the fault of the train-spotting hipsters. In this case, we would have to blame bands like Everything Everything, who seem to be tired already of the scene they only set their big toe in. And with good reason. The British scene is disheartening: on one hand it’s easy to admire the capacity to make music be profitable as a business; but on the other hand, the tendency to hype all music as if it were going to save the planet is tiresome.
Because of that, attitudes like Everything Everything’s are most welcome: in 2008 they made their debut with a single (“ Suffragette Suffragette”) that soon got the attention of NME, always eager to look at Manchester in the hope to see a recovery that never completely transpires no matter how much it is happening already. Super tracks that followed, such as “ MY KZ, UR BF” or “ Photoshop Handsome” (both included on this debut album), further fed the legend. But then, a couple of months ago, with the release of “Man Alive” already announced, they gave us “ Schoolin’” as a preview, and that got some people frowning. A track that couldn’t be sold as modern rock, because it wasn’t known whether the sum of martial percussion, a whistle, some minimalist guitar riffs, eighties choruses and a falsetto vocal gave us a “hit” or not. Well, it depends on how one looks at it. In four singles, Everything Everything had run the course it’s taken Foals (and many other bands) two whole albums: to get hipsters sporting skinny jeans and ironic ’taches saying “awesome” and critics using the word “mature.” With Foals it felt like a pose, anyway. With Everything Everything however, “Man Alive” proves there’s more to them.
The xx already showed last year that being young doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compose with the audience and dancefloors in mind. Other ways are possible. And while they explore a nocturnal and sensual planet, Everything Everything enter a lost world in which space folds itself over itself to, layer by layer, allow things to happen in one same instant that, for the sake of coherence (and even decency), should occur thousands of kilometres from each other. But we’re not talking about the typical case of genre-fusing exposing all their influences so that the listener is left in awe over the improbable mix of bachata with Detroit techno. Luckily we have also overcome Gotan Project. No. The songs of “ Man Alive” sound original but credible, like radio hits from a planet where commerce isn’t based on mimicry but a prize for something genuine.
A certain willingness to confuse is palpable on Everything Everything’s debut, to take off the corset of modern British rock with force. The record starts with “ MY KZ, UR BF” and displays the already known tracks in the first half, filling the gaps with compositions that shy away from the term “hit” (except the overwhelming “ Qwerty Fingers”, capable of making any representative of Northern-Irish energetic rock explosion look like little boys, Two Door Cinema Club at the front of the queue). The new tracks prefer the direction of melancholic synth-space-pop (“ Leave The Engine Room”), to undress and detonate the parameters of post- Vampire Weekend percussion (“ Final Form”) and play the harpsichord to redefine choral chamber pop (“ Two For Nero”). All this without losing their identity: the high-pitched voice, the spine in the form of steep drums and the out-of-mind synths. On the last part of the album, when you’ve already given up hope that Everything Everything will play a song that will give them the fame you have been wishing for them since the third song, they surprise us with two new hits-to-be: “ Come Alive” starts out like the perfect pop-rock single and ends up breaking the rules with some glorious trumpets; and “ Weights” closes the record sublimating an abruptly nostalgic emotion over a track that has the conventions of the new world-pop of Yeasayer as a base.
Do you remember when you would listen to a song and you would know that the band would become the next big thing? Well, we got over that, too. Everything Everything had and have hits that could set the standard for the next musical season. But: it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen. It may well be that their concept, more complex than usual in the world of the eternal (stupid) British youth, leaves them in the background where, in spite of everything, they could end up building a future for themselves as a “cult band”. Or maybe the laws of physics and quantics will invert and, in one of the astral conjunctions of The xx type, Everything Everything could become one of those eclipses that, out of pure fascination, the masses can’t stop looking at directly and end up with the imprint of the sun on the retinas for a long time.
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