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Everything Everything

Although they cite unlikely sources of inspiration STEVE REICH, The BEATLES and R. KELLY, Manchester-based EVERYTHING EVERYTHING are truer to the arty, new wave beats of XTC, or the more recently, The RAPTURE, MGMT and HOT CHIP. Distinctive with his flighty falsetto and the group’s organic math-rock complexities, Jonathan Higgs and Co try not to fit into any category or pigeonhole, but in doing so, they fit into umpteen.
Leaving their roots of Northumberland in England: the aforementioned Higgs (vocals/guitar/keyboards) from Gilsland, plus Michael Spearman (drums/vocals) and Alex Niven (guitar/vocals) from Newbrough, the three had formed a bond while attending Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, where each had learned their instruments. The other piece of the jigsaw was in place when Higgs met Kent-raised bassist Jeremy Pritchard while they studied for a degree in Popular Music and Recording at Salford University. As their graduation came to the close, the quartet joined up for rehearsals in 2007 and chose the moniker of EVERYTHING EVERYTHING to depict their general detournement (or indeed “rerouting” or “hijacking”).
At first motivated by the punk ethos rather that just a Paul Morley/ART OF NOISE synth aesthetic, EE performed with conventional instruments, hoping to add to the balance as time went on when they could afford further technical support. Hooking up with producer David Kosten was a substantial boost to their energy levels and, in December 2008, `Suffragette Suffragette’ was released for XL Recordings offshoot Salvia. Its staccato polyrhythms and GENTLE GIANT-esque barbershop harmonies were the deal, while the fist-pumping festival fave `Photoshop Handsome’ turned out to be their second 7-inch independent release, this time for Another Music = Another Kitchen. By the turn of the decade, Young And Lost Club Records were gloriously responsible for their seminal beat-skipping `My Kz, Yr Bf’ (aka “My Keys, Your Boyfriend”).
Unable to sustain a need to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist, Niven bailed out; his berth filled from guitarist/vocalist Alex Robertshaw (from Guernsey). Promoted as ones to watch by the BBC, the mighty Geffen Records also realised their commercial prospects and signed them on the spot, delivering `Schoolin’’ (and a re-issued of `My Kz, Yr Bf’) as a preview to their Kosten-produced debut set MAN ALIVE (2010) {*8}. Mostly positive reviews by everyone from Drowned In Sound, The Fly and the NME (who dubbed them “pop’s new Picassos”), the Top 20 and soon-to-be Mercury-nominated set was pure songcraft, with built-in sonic landscapes and experimentation; `Qwerty Finger’, `Two For Nero’ and `Leave The Engine Room’ were also essential gemstones.
A switch to RCA Victor Records produced further fruits as `Cough Cough’ sent EVERYTHING EVERYTHING into the Top 40; `Kemosabe’ almost repeating the prescription. Also the opening gambits of schizoid sophomore set, ARC (2013) {*8}, they arrived on the back of a tour supporting MUSE. Lyrically astute (if a little hard to infiltrate), with layers of stream-lined gloss to beat off the Bosch beats, the tongue-twisting stuttering were less evident on the body-popping disco of `Duet’ and `Don’t Try’, while `Torso Of The Week’ was another in the motif of `Photoshop Handsome’.
As yet weirdly avoided by Geffen’s Stateside branch, who seem only to have a certain penchant for their own breed of nu-new wave acts, the all-encompassing EVERYTHING EVERYTHING shot into the Top 10 with GET TO HEAVEN (2015) {*8}. Okay, the record did slide into 80s pop-electro by way of the TALKING HEADS-cloned title track, but in one-that-got-away singles `Distant Past’ and `Regret’, there was a sense they were stepping back to the future – so to speak. Produced by Stuart Price, splashes of R&B, funk, house and glitchy techno were held together by the wonderful Higgs, whose harping larynx on `To The Blade’, `No Reptiles’ et al, could virtually strip Artex from drywall.
© MC Strong/MCS Jun2015

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