Everything Everything are back to release daunting album number two after their daring yet elusive debut Man Alive. Their new album Arc features a more sees the Manchester quartet offering greater accessibility, but a tendency to fluctuate between sounds and a lack of cohesiveness between the tracks stops the lads from achieving a truly great album.
Quirky opener Cough Cough is a strong start to Arc, with the off-beat, jerky and repetitious “Yeah…so… um… wait a second” lyrics flourishing into a hectically playful, foot-tapping tune. From there singer Jonathan Higg’s disjointed, fidgeting voice flows well through Kemosabe and strings-soaked Duet.
The whimsical energy of the lead track fades away quickly on Arc to more sombre, traditionally structured songs, which is a pity as the boys have a real talent for quirky, playful compositions. That’s not to say that the rest of the album is without merit, the build up on Radiant makes it a strong contender, and closing track Don’t Try has a subtle poppy quality to it and is a catchy closer.
The problem with Arc is that Everything Everything don’t quite know what they want to sound like yet. Listening to the album in its entirety, you can hear them hopping from one style to the other, test-driving the sounds of their musical influences. Cough Cough could be mistaken for an Alt-J track, Kemosabe sounds like a Bloc Party B-side and the second half of the album plays out like a Snow Patrol/Coldplay mash-up with Higg’s voice splashed over the top. It isn’t the greatest record as a whole, but the lads have created some fun, poppy stand-outs too.
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