Album Review: Everything Everything - 'Raw Data Feel'

20 May 2022 | 12:43 pm | Carley Hall

Is 'Raw Data Feel' a standout in the EE catalogue?

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Navigating a changed world during the release of Everything Everything’s previous album Re-Animation in 2020 hasn’t blunted the short, sharp art rock the English four-piece have pumped out since their inception in 2007. Despite leading man Jonathan Higgs admitting in a recent interview to overcoming some personal demons during the pandemic, the same old fervour and complicated melodies and rhythmic lines are still at the fore of their latest, Raw Data Feel

If anything has changed, it’s a slight softening of the fiery lyricism embedded in many an EE track. That’s not to say that it’s gone entirely (“I’ve been drinking this since I was 8 or 9 / But they don’t give a flying fuck about us / I am starting the fire,” Higgs sings in Metroland Is Burning), but the switch has definitely been dialled back a bit. Leviathan’s deliciously moody guitars and gentle beat counter the joyous declaration, “When I saw you I fell in love / I had to smile because you knew it.” There is also just some fun, carefree tracks that are impossible not to like, like the sunny Caribbean rhythms and tangle of trippy synths in Kevin’s Car.

Musically, it may not be as heart-rattling as previous releases (think Distant Past from 2015’s Arc). Things are a bit more moderately paced and contemplative; like a purposeful stroll rather than a furious dash. What happens in place of the usual walls of noise are blissful moments of joyous celebration (My Computer) and sombre passages with space around them to make them sparkle brighter. Cut-Up! Is a wonderful exception though, punching out a Chemical Brothers-esque opening and settling into melodically infectious lines with nerve-tickling percussive rhythms that hark back to the energy of former albums.

Let’s not forget that Higgs is gifted with an affecting set of pipes. The pitch jumps he pulls off in Born Under A Meteor are damn impressive, not to mention when he does so at a sprint in Bad Friday. It’s not just the command of his vocal prowess that dazzles – it’s his rounded lows and angular, trilling highs that make all songs unmistakably EE’s. The essence of this band just wouldn’t be the same without Higgs.

Is Raw Data Feel a standout in the EE catalogue? Oh Lordy yes. And if it isn’t at first, it quickly becomes one. Between lush instrumental passages, searing lyrics and the clever, math-rock complexity of some of their arrangements, it’s an album that implants its gems deep in your subconscious and pulls you back immediately for another play. The opening handful of tracks aren’t the strongest but Raw Data Feel soon picks up pace to become among the band’s best to date. 

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They’ll never be easily placed in a convenient box – slap any kind of art rock, experimental indie, R&B genre descriptor on them and they’ll all stick – so when a new EE release comes our way it’s always worth sitting up, immersing yourself in their world and broadening your musical horizon.