27 October 2010
listen: everything everything – man alive
Story by Andrew Reinholds
Making the top 15 of the BBC’s Sound of 2010 list, vocalist Jonathan Higgs sets this record apart.
Manchester based quartet Everything Everything’s debut Man Alive has it all: pop, electro, jazz and funk. The group chars like an out of control train, speeding through every changing time signatures, keys and genres to deliver a sound almost beyond categorisation.
If influences can be detected, then a nod to post punks XTC or more recently The Futureheads seem likely reference points. What they also share in common with both these bands is a sound that is at once eccentric, entertaining and educated.
Indeed, some of the lyrics delivered by lead singer Jonathan Higgs border on the surreal as they dive head on into stream-of-consciousness. I’m not sure what we should make of lines such as “so how will they remember us whole when we turn to salt, and its mine, the fault, mine the dream, and the vein, home of whale-flesh, make soap out of it”.
Higgs’ vocal style too is really what sets this record apart. Each track is sung in a sugary falsetto with the words delivered with machine gun like rapidity. The result is that the listener never really gets a moment to take breath, as song after song literally flies by. At times, it does seem like a lot to take in in one siiting, however, the baffling lyrics, auditory jokes (check the gloriously catchy chorus of Suffragete Suffragete) means that the album does reward repeat listening.
Everything Everything are ear-marked for greater things, making the top 15 of the BBC’s Sound of 2010 list, compiled by the who’s who of UK experts in current and new music.
Some may consider this debut pretentious and intentionally intellectual. Whatever its criticisms, and there have been a few, you certainly can’t accuse Everything Everything of lacking ambition. Man Alive marks a first step towards mainstream stardom – we’ll be hearing from these guys again.