Arc... At 'er!
Review: Everything Everything – Arc
Published on January 15th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Everything Everything are a frustrating bunch. As with their 2010 debut Man Alive, Arc is chock-full of both its brilliant moments and those which register as a bit too naff for comfort. Their songs sound by and large like a cut and paste job – ie. separately written sections stapled together – and this wouldn’t be so much of a problem if they were all at least of a consistent quality.
It’s every bit as hyperactive as you’d expect but only sporadically inspired. “Torso of the Week” is a prime example of the bizarre tension at play: it’s blessed with some gripping hooks, riffs and progressions, but its might-as-well-be-Linkin-Park chorus sees it limp home as only two-thirds of a great song. Are there two songwriters at play? If so, one of them should consider stepping aside.
“Kemosabe” as well: some sections of airborne splendour and an annoying chanty chorus. Overall, the good bits appear frequently enough to sustain interest levels, fuelled also by the undercurrent of eccentricity. Does Jonathan Higgs really sing “I could be the dolphin of your dreams” on “Choice Mountain”? Either way, it’s a lovely track.
“Feet For Hands” is as despondent as you’d imagine one might be were they to awake one day with the titular problem, “Armourland” houses a nice ELO-ish chorus that might just be the sole example on Arc of Everything Everything indulging their ‘straight pop’ side – that is, those sections which just loop a 4/4 progression over four bars – and it working in their favour.
“Undrowned” is ambitious, like some kind of foreboding anti-nursery rhyme, but in the end its overly verbose lines like “First boy, I think you should know / If you try hard then you might get a part as a doe-eyed impressionist mind / Bear us the light of the footballers’ wives that surround you” are shoe-horned uncomfortably into the quick-paced melody.
Occasionally, Higgs sings as if he might be taking the piss, and this is not becoming of the band’s overall sound, but closer “Don’t Try” successfully weds the rapid-fire vocals to the more conventional chorus, riding a nice, sprightly swagger to a coda of church organ and a harmonised procession of aaahhhs.
Maddeningly inconsistent yet occasionally inspired, Arc is. Worth sifting through for the good bits, otherwise not quite up to its own commendable ambition.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Arc is out now on Sony. For more information, please visit www.everything-everything.co.uk