The day ‘Get To Heaven’ came out I saw a headline proclaiming Everything Everything to be a ‘much more danceable Radiohead’. Let’s be honest, Everything Everything’s new album doesn’t really sound anything like Radiohead and neither does anything else they’ve done before this album. It seems that every time a band tries to do something out the box they’re instantly labelled the new Radiohead without any just reasons, it’s based purely on the fact that they’re English and ‘Arty’. Everything Everything have just about earned their place in the UK Indie scene to not have that label lumbered onto them, whether it’s meant as a compliment or not. Over the course of three albums Everything Everything have managed to create a distinct sound that is singular to them yet they don’t quite realise the power that their style can achieve when enhanced.
Everything Everything have a knack for taking subject matters like climate change, consumerism and the ever-growing danger that humanity poses to itself and turn these subjects into extremely witty songs. Lead singer Jonathan Higgs’ vocal performance often borders on actual rapping, yet every line is layered in pretty melodies that bounce over the top of their often tight and unpredictable instrumentals. His vocal performance verges on manic most of the time trying to unreal his words as quickly as they come to him. Throughout this album he’ll frantically scramble about tongue twisting sentences before he calms himself down to show off his stunning falsetto. They also use vocal samples every now and again –like on the lead single to the album ‘Distant Past’– so seamlessly that they’re hardly noticeable.
With their style being so frantic one minute and then so serene the next, it can be quite easy to miss the many sad and tragic themes that Everything Everything touch upon on this album. The actual title of the album ‘Get To Heaven’ sounds like a challenge that the band have set themselves – an impossible goal that becomes near-impossible to achieve when living in the 21st Century. ‘I think you’d have to be blind and deaf to have lived through 2014 and not shed a tear. If you put out a record this year and it’s all smiles, then I think you’re a liar, basically.’ Higgs said in an interview with The Line Of Best Fit. Higgs presents his ideas of discomfort in the modern world–where ISIS are at large and in the Western countries we’re tearing ourselves apart through a class-system–with extremely bold, tongue in cheek analogies and imagery that’s scarily accurate. On the track ‘No Reptiles’ Higgs sings about the conspiracy theory that subscribes to the belief that it’s alien reptiles who are in charge of us (like the Royal Family and George Bush). He offers an alternative to the crazy theory suggesting that it’s nothing quite as sinister as that and that the people who’re in charge are no more than ‘Soft boiled eggs in shirts and ties’. In the same song he sings a slightly mishandled but ultimately intriguing line about how ‘It’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair’, a line so baffling that he literally threw it in there to catch people off-guard.
In other tracks of the album they tone down their odd comparisons somewhat for some more simple ideas like on the lead single for the album ‘Distant Past’ which is a song about longing for a time where civilisation didn’t exist. In comparison to the distant past which he longs for, our present-day life really isn’t much better, we make the same mistakes that we always have except we’re now doing it on a much larger scale. He once again uses vivid and often tongue twisting vocabulary to describe our ascent to becoming the dominant species on Earth. On the track ‘Regret’ they sing of a character who feels so disenfranchised with the world that he lashes out and does something crazy that you’d ‘see in the news and then never again’. They explore the feelings of regret that the character feels and it’s that alone which makes this album so topically fascinating. There is a level of grounded humanity that runs throughout this album even when people are doing the craziest of things like on the track ‘Fortune 500’ which tells the tale of someone who kills the Queen, he feels remorse and panic for what they’ve done. They explore the mindset of these sorts of people asking why?
They can only explore these themes so far though because of the natural restraints of Pop music. There’s very little on here to actually evoke a massive emotional reaction. The songs are more like interesting documentations of the darker side of the world, presented in an extremely tongue-in-cheek manner. The aforementioned ‘Fortune 500’ stands on its own as a track that sees them break out further from pretty melodies yet it sees them stumble in the coherency of the record somewhat. There is a sense that Everything Everything have mastered their style and no one can touch them in musical sense without sounding like copycats, but the band could utilise this style to create much more powerful songs. Towards the back-end of the album there’s a nagging feeling that there should be more coming from them. These songs are slices of Art-Pop that burst from the seems but there’s room for improvement in the way in which they can pack in their dark messages.
Best Tracks: Distant Past, To The Blade, No Reptiles, Regret