Review this album
Jan 16, 2013Everything Everything's first album "Man Alive" was easily my favorite album of all time. They exhibited a quirkiness that few bands ever attempt (and even fewer pull off), but at the same time, they showed a masterful attention to detail that gave the listeners something unique at the very least and downright enjoyable for many. It was a fresh approach to the some times stale and off putting genre of alt rock that we hear all too often.
With "Arc", the band's second foray into music-dom, I'm left scratching my head. The album feels like it's made up of two parts; the part before the track "_Arc_" and everything after. The first half feels like a combination of pop riffs and musical styles that can only be described as pseudo-mainstream. The good news is that I can still hear the original and quirky Everything Everything sound, but the structure of each song has taken a decided turn towards Alt rock. While I don't think this is a bad thing (and it is necessary if they want to make themselves more appealing to the masses), this isn't the Everything Everything that I fell in love with on "Man Alive" with tracks such as "MY KZ, UR BF" or "Photoshop Handsome". I can't help but feel a track like "Feet For Hands" would feel right at home on a MUSE album, or perhaps "Duet" feels a little bit like they took a note out of Coldplay's song dictionary. The first half of the album is a nod towards the more popular end of the genre, and while it does feel necessary, that doesn't mean I have to like it.
The second half of the album is a turn around, though. "Armourland" takes Everything Everything back to their roots with a disjointed set of riffs tied together with a beautiful chorus line and accompanied by Jonathan's haunting electric keyboard-synth. "The House is Dust" has a very mid-2000's Radiohead feel, which is great in my book; creating a sound that is similar to a band that walks the fine line of mainstream and indie that has made it big is not a bad thing at all. The album wraps up with a joyous jaunt in the form of "Don't Try", which again almost feels like a combination of the first and second halves of the album; it's a decided nod towards the pop end of the spectrum (I can name 4 different bands that probably influenced this song), but it's still uniquely Everything Everything. It's also a lot of fun to listen to.
I maintain that their first album, "Man Alive" is still my favorite album of all time. Everything Everything took a risk with it and still managed to pull off a style that is very unique. It felt like very few parts of that album took ques from other artists; the sound was all new and fresh. Their second adventure "Arc" feels like Everything Everything is making a bid towards the pop-end of the spectrum. The fortunate part is that it feels like they were largely successful... but in the process they lost some of the charm that made them unique. It's a good album, it really is. However, I still like the first one better.
7/10 - recommended listen… Expand
Jan 14, 2013Still a quirky and original band that I love to listen too. Man Alive is one of my favorite albums of all time, with every song a joy to listen too, and being highly memorable. How does Arc hold up against Man Alive? Quite well, actually, though I still have to listen to it a few more times before I become really attached to the album, but I am sure Arc will be compulsively listenable after a while. Music is different to other media in quite a big way; with movies you watch it once or twice before formulating an opinion on it, with games you can play it once to formulate an opinion and play it again to justify that opinion, and with books you only really need to read it once since there inherently is more attention to detail in books that most other media. But with music, you need to become familiar with the piece, you need to know when it picks up the pace and when it climaxes, as songs are only up to 5 minutes long, unlike 2 hour movies and even 30 hour games. Everything Everything perfects this craft, being completely foreign the first time you listen to it, but being compulsively listenable thereafter. It's incredible how they pull it off, how strange and different their style is, so you never tire of it like you would any other song. They do something different every 16 bars, and I guess that's why it's hard to get sick of it. It's excellent how they pull it off, and I would recommend this album to any fan of Electronica, Indie or Alternative Rock. 'Cough Cough' and 'The House is Dust' are my two personal favorites.… Collapse
Jan 14, 2013With more polished production and better songwriting, Everything Everything have produced an album that, whilst showing less of a commitment to being off-putting in it's experimentation, still maintains the quirks that make the band great. This is ultimately a winning move as Arc is much more coherent, layered and heartfelt than it's predecessor, with catchy tunes and jaunty hi-jinx in equal measure. Arc is a rewarding listen that is worth persevering with, and is ultimately a welcome progression for a band who show no signs of ever being boring.… Expand
Jan 27, 2013A refreshing different style of music that is still catchy and amazing to listen to. Although a lot of the songs had me looking in the lyric booklet, they're still great tunes and music overall. The variety in the songs is good bonus, yet they still manage to have a certain similarity to them that;s simply unique.
Jan 29, 2013Everything Everything's first album, whilst full of promise was a little higgledy piggledy. This sounds like them finding a more concentrated, perhaps efficient sound. There's less ephemera on Arc, and it feels like the album really benefits as a consequence. Excellent.
May 8, 2013I was pretty stoked a little while back when I found out that Everything Everything had a new album out. Man Alive started by 2010's off on a very high note from the start, so my expectations were through the roof with this one. However, when I finally got my hands on Arc, I popped it in and had to force myself through the album, hoping for that one track that redeemed the rest...it never happened. I completely realize that a band's second album is a chance to branch out and try to further explore their style, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the tracks on Arc did the exact opposite. On Man Alive, there were so many wonderful melodies, rich harmonies, slick grooves that sucked you into each song, and just overall very good musicianship. On Arc, it felt like all of that creative energy sucked inward and was kept so subtle and hidden that it was barely recognizable. There were times I felt like I was just listening to some run-of-the-mill pop band, and that did not make me happy. The lyrics had some depth, I'll give it that, but the instrumentation wasn't there to complement or back it up. Not even close. Overprocessed, too many effects, Jonathan stuck in his falsetto for so long that it lost its appeal, there were none of those oh-so-special basslines that got my jollies off before, nothing special that popped out and grabbed me by the ears and wouldn't let go until I absolutely loved it, and there was no pick-me-up from the long, mid-tempo dirge that the album became by the last track. I felt like they took everything (everything) that made their debut album great, and chucked it out the window. Perhaps it was due to the lack of Alex Niven's influence via his understanding of what makes good music, maybe it was something else, but where the first album had everything, this second album lacks everything. It makes me sad.… Expand