It takes a lot of confidence to be this ridiculous.
In an age when music is no longer an art exclusively practiced by the talented wordsmiths and players amongst us, listening to an album from beginning to end is rarely a profound experience. However, just as the Bodhi tree enlightened Siddhartha Gautama, the sophomore album from the four Mancunian Messiahs of Math-Rock and Synth pop provides a similar experience for music enthusiasts. Everything Everything’s ‘_Arc_’ is a dark, ethereal, layered and angst-filled collection of tracks, which are just as eclectic and vibrant as the band’s debut, but harder, more mature, and more focused in execution. Not for the faint of heart but for those that really pay attention to lyrical content, powerful drums, soaring falsettos, ‘spats’, off-beats, and the sounds of Africa and the Orient serve as the vessel through which Everything Everything tell us the story of our impending apocalypse.
A keen ear will hear a myriad of influences, particularly Radiohead, Elbow, Coldplay and even a sprinkle of Vampire Weekend. Piano-backed balladry is blended with a firm anchor in the bands electro-pop roots. Although melancholy runs throughout the record, the narration is rarely sombre. Tracks such as ‘Kemosabe’ – a Native American term of endearment – and the raucous ‘Cough Cough’ unapologetically appeal to dancing feet. Echoing melodies take the listener on a journey through echoing caves, the sublime and the truly beautiful. One will find less anarchy in ‘_Arc_’ than in ‘Man Alive’, but the drama and intensity is just as great, if not more so. It seems that this time round there is a strong sense of feeling, accompanied by the fear of progress (ironic for a band so forward thinking and progressive with their sound). Political statements about the environment, the media, consumerism and much more sit ethereally on quirky melodies and familiar Everything Everything rhythms. Extraordinarily, with so much going on sonically, there is not one filler track and Higgs’ vocals play against the macho posturing of his contemporaries and showcase vulnerability and earnestness.
My friends, I challenge you to not feel changed after this rather extraordinary listening experience. Just as Noah’s arc was the saviour of mankind, perhaps, for those that ‘get’ this band, ‘_Arc_’ denotes the saviour of popular music.
Stand out Tracks: ‘Kemosabe’; ‘Torso of the Week’; ‘Armourland’; ‘Radiant’; and ‘The Peaks’.
Ratings out of 5 stars: 4/5 stars.