Album Review: Everything Everything – Man Alive

By on Thursday, 19th August 2010 at 2:00 pm

Having researched Manchester area bands more closely over the last couple weeks, one thing has become crystal clear. None of them want to be associated with the musical ghosts of Manchester’s past. Everything Everything have admitted to influences as disparate as r&b and rock, and ‘Man Alive’, their debut album to be released on Geffen, is a wonderful representation of the melting pot of ideas no doubt inspired by their favourite artists. And they sound nothing like Manchester in my humble opinion.

By now, you’ve heard the schizophrenic track ‘MY KZ UR BF’ by the Manchester-based quartet. It’s a pop, lock and drop workout for the vocal cords as his voice goes from normal range into falsetto and back again. But lead singer Jonathan Higgs appears unperturbed by the strain. Everything Everything’s instrumentation pounds through the entire album with no signs of abating. Couple this with Higgs’s unbridled voice, the results are exciting and certainly not the piffle you hear over grocery store PAs. ‘Schoolin”, another one of their singles, contains the most enjoyable whistling passages since Peter Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’, plus very good guitar work. ‘Come Alive Diana’ is a winner, very melodic.

The title of ‘Qwerty Finger’ sounds like an ode to the typing classes I took in grade school on even-then-ancient Apple IIs. The drums and handclaps make this lively. I can only imagine what fun it’d be live. Suffragette Suffragette’ (not to be confused with David Bowie’s ‘Suffragette City’ or any other song containing the term for liberal females fighting for voting rights) and ‘Photoshop Handsome’ are also good; neither are as lyrically poppy as the singles but for sheer infectiousness you cannot ignore them. I smiled listening to this album, getting the distinct feeling that these four lads who studied classical music in university just a few years ago must have had a ball in the studio recording this.

‘Leave the Engine Room’ much less manic, sounding like the type of number during which you’d see people at gigs holding up their lighters. Maybe the band realised that their fans would need a breather between the more frantic numbers. It’s a gentle song that conjures up Owl City but is much better than anything the Minnesotan could have produced. ‘Tin (The Manhole)’, with its echoey, spacey vocals, and ‘NASA is on Your Side’ are more introspective moments. The surprise of the album is ‘Two for Nero’, which sounds more Simon and Garfunkel and 10cc than R. Kelly, purportedly one of the band’s biggest influences. The album concludes with ‘Weights’, suitably sounding like the end of a carnival ride.

While ‘Man Alive’ is not being advertised as an overt dance album, I see kids pogo-ing enthusistically to most of these tracks. It’s definitely a fun record and one you won’t quickly forget. Just be careful that when you’re listening to it, you’re not operating heavy machinery. Or you forget who and where you are and start break-dancing. Being drawn in by the music, you might sprain something.


MP3: Everything Everything – Schoolin’

‘Man Alive’ by Everything Everything will be released on 30 August 2010 in the UK on Geffen Records. ‘MY KZ UR BF’ the single will be released a week earlier, next Monday (23 August).

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[…] There Goes the Fear reviews Man AliveSource 8/10Having researched Manchester area bands more closely over the last couple weeks, one thing […]

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