Everything Everything - Re-Animator Music Album Reviews

Everything Everything - Re-Animator Music Album Reviews

The latest from the Manchester cult favorites lacks the overwhelming chaos of their best music, but it’s their most thoughtful work yet. 

As their peers in Foals and alt-J found international success, Manchester eccentrics Everything Everything kept refining and distilling their paranoid, hyperactive pop. Lead singer Jonathan Higgs became a British Cassandra, observing rising anti-immigrant sentiments and worldwide tension on Get to Heaven well before the Brexit referendum and the 2016 American election. The band became a cult favorite instead of a crossover success story, disguising anthems about ISIS recruitment and suicide bombers in glossy pop production.

On Re-Animator, Higgs has found inspiration in the idea of the bicameral mind, an esoteric (give or take a mention on Westworld) psychological theory positning that before the emergence of consciousness, humans interpreted their own thoughts as auditory hallucinations. If this wasn’t a band who made a soaring anthem out of the line “It’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair...old enough to fire a gun,” this would be too heady, and as is, it’s out-there, even for this band. As if to mitigate the dense subject matter, they knocked the record out in two weeks with John Congleton, focusing on simplicity. As a result, Re-Animator lacks the overwhelming chaos of their best music, but it’s their most thoughtful work yet.

As a consequence of the quick recording, they’ve never sounded less like their name. There are fewer genres hopped than usual—there’s some dub on “Lost Powers,” some decadent No Shape vibes on “In Birdsong,” but the turn towards conventional indie rock is a canny move for a band heading into their second decade. The surprise is the lack of surprise, the focus on craft and mood over stimulating detail. There are no vocal chops like early single “Kemosabe,” no freeform tangents like those on A Fever Dream’s centerpiece “Put Me Together.” There are occasional quirks, like when Higgs amusingly alludes to Jay-Z’s infamous “Monster” verse on “It Was a Monstering,” but even that’s tacked on to an otherwise straightforward Radiohead homage. This sparseness leads to some uncharacteristically weak studio recordings: “Planets” features all the components of captivating prog-pop, but the insistence on space flattens the song, and a groove change winds up anticlimactic instead of invigorating. The motorik beat of “Violent Sun” veers too close to alternative radio stalwarts like Blue October and the Killers for comfort, and there’s something intrinsically underwhelming about the way the pre-chorus and the chorus hinge on the same chord, like magnets repelling one another.

Higgs nearly makes up for the album’s deficiencies with his lyrics, which are more direct than ever. “Sun” is an urgent “last chance before the night ends”-type song, and their most romantic ever. It’s thrilling to hear Higgs apply his odd-but-visceral writing style to a love song: “You can barely make a silhouette out/And you open your ventriloquist mouth/And the words are wrong but in the right order.” The bicameral-mind concept pops up in several songs, most notably in “The Actor,” where Higgs’ narrator comes to terms with the other voice in their head (“if we look the same/then I don’t mind”). There’s the typical fascination with the grotesque—“Arch Enemy” follows a protagonist associating the other voice in their head with a sentient fatberg, the latter hilariously depicted in the song’s music video. When it stumbles, like the flimsy verses of “Black Hyena,” it’s less a matter of underwriting than a stylistic risk that doesn’t always pay off.

The album hits hardest when Higgs’ lyrics collide with the band’s penchant for bombast. “Big Climb” is a furious screed against a world failing to properly deal with its crises until the inhabitants are “dancing on the ocean floor.” It features some of Higgs’ best imagery—the “curved glass in a desert full of sun,” the “gas crawling like the ghost of the sea.” All this is set to outright stadium rock, a genre so fitting to Everything Everything’s extroversion that it’s a wonder they don’t go for broke like that more often.

“Big Climb” is so exciting that it’s a shame most of the album is so reserved. Re-Animator still holds its own against their other music; at their most traditional, they remain smart songwriters, and even their weaker lyrical moments are more thought-provoking than their peers. They’re likely not going back to the doomsaying of Man Alive any time soon—Higgs acknowledges he’s “too old to be crying out” on “Violent Sun.” But even at this slower pace, in this quieter register, one of the world’s most restless bands finds more uncharted territory.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Everything Everything - Re-Animator Music Album Reviews Everything Everything - Re-Animator Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, September 18, 2020 Rating:

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