November 4, 2009
Everything Everything produce super-smart pop songs. They’re made from the finer stuff; rawboned, syncopated three-part harmonies and damn soaring choruses hatchet-stitched together with rock-solid drumming. It all makes perfect sense. The arrangements are complex, the synths stolen straight from ’80s power-pop and the lyrics Internet-smart. They’ve a song called ‘Photoshop Handsome’, after all, as in attractive but only after your face has been tweaked. That’s how clever this Manchester four-piece are in a snapshot, and I’m ready and waiting for them to blow my mind live.
As it goes, their set comes across muddy, samey, and screechy at worst. Gone is the crisp, fresh sound of the recordings, the sparkly exhuberance of ‘My Kz, Ur Bf’, the exciting way they sequence space-age plinks against the knowingly-derivative mathy guitars, the offbeat. The guitars are way too low down in the mix, too. And instead of being taken aback by Jonathan Everything’s amazing vocal range, I’m left frustrated. His falsetto screeching on ‘NASA Is On Your Side’ isn’t abrasive as such, instead coming across more painful. The lower-down monosyllabic passages go down a treat however, which is probably against Everything Everything’s expectations. I think they’re overreaching; when the bawdiness isn’t the highlight of the song, it’s questionable what it’s doing there in the first place.
The wave of ’80s-referencing super-pop bands following Cut Copy‘s benchmark for confident and glossy-sounding dancefloor-botherers has been astonishing, taking many different twists and turns along the way. Everything Everything’s take is completely distinct, coming across not only self-assured but with truly distinctive harmonies at the heart. They sound so pinpointed on record that I’m staggered by just how little of that comes across tonight.
They’ve gone too far on getting their recordings to sound that labyrinthine that unfortunately they can’t live up to their own jittery, perfectly clattery perfectionism live just yet. And I can’t hear the lyrics at all. Take ‘Suffragette Suffragette’, which passes by like a face in the crowd tonight. The lyrics “who’s gonna sit on the fence when I’m gone/who’s gonna sit on your face when I’m gone” are anonymous, in spite of that being a massive part of Everything Everything’s unique charm. Are they shy of their wordplay, or is it that there’s so much else that they don’t know what to showcase first? … Continue Reading