Everything Everything ‘Man Alive’ – Review

15 Sep

Everything Everything are not an easy band to penetrate. It’s like they deliberately set up camp in the middle of a well protected army base and to reach them you have to work your way around barbed wire and machine gun fire. More literally the band use song titles that are impossible to pronounce or just plain horrible to say, album art that is so insipid you would never want to take it to a shop counter and time signatures  that constantly try to trip you up. Just as you think you are getting into a song they will change the key in a very jarring way and their lyrics are so abstract that the band post them on facebook and ask for people to send in their interpretations, which seems a bit pretentious for a pop group whose primary audience is the teenage NME faithful.

If all of this makes the album sound like a lot of hard work then that’s because it is, and for relatively little reward as well. Everything Everything sound like a more bonkers Foals, or Biffy Clyro if they had spent their youth listening to dance and r&b rather than hardcore. Whilst they share a fair bit in common with those bands, they aren’t anywhere near as good – their energy and eccentric personality makes it impossible to hate Everything Everything, but the same qualities make them difficult to love as well. Still, there is at least the attempt to be different and although I made a comment about them being pretentious they are far too much fun to be truly up themselves (afterall they have already declared themselves to be Take That fans which to many is surely the indie equivalent of a liberal Jew expressing his admiration for Adolf Hitler).

They have a style that is truly their own but at the same time they don’t sound like the future of anything, they inhabit a strange land that frankly any group would be crazy to try to invade. ‘My KZ, UR BF’ is the best example of where their sound works, the song shifts and dissolves before coming back in an entirely new form (imagine one of those psychedelic screen savers for windows media or itunes). ‘Photoshop Handsome’ is another winner, largely because it’s poppy enough to have become a bit of a festival anthem over the summer. They largely fail when they become a bit more obscure and tricky, ‘Schoolin’ and ‘Qwerty Finger’ have a spark of something great but they are just too awkward and jittery to be anything more than just interesting. I actually like it when they slow down so you can hear more clearly what they are singing about, ‘Leave The Engine Room’ and ‘Tin’ are my two favourite songs on here and compared to their ADHD brothers they sound lovely.

So ‘Man Alive’ is not the great British debut people have been crying out for, but it tries to be and that will do for now. This isn’t just another boring guitar album by a band that think it’s still 2001, this is an ambitious and distinctive record that swings for a home run every time and whilst it misses just as often as it hits, you have to admire them for their effort.



One Response to “Everything Everything ‘Man Alive’ – Review”

  1. adamagogobaby September 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    I appreciate your opinion Thomas, but this is an astonishing album. Maybe it still needs more time to bury itself into your subconscious, or maybe it’s just another one of those things that only I seem to like 😛

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