Everything Everything - Arc

Set for the stratosphere
Everything Everything - Arc

When Thom Yorke sang “ambition makes you look pretty ugly” on Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’, he’d obviously never heard an album like Everything Everything’s ‘Arc’. The Mancunian quartet’s follow-up to 2010’s Mercury-nominated debut ‘Man Alive’ is openly transparent - Everything Everything have fashioned a fistful of songs for the masses.

But, while aiming their collective aspirations high, there is nothing remotely ‘ugly’ about ‘Arc’. The album, which again features David Kosten on knob-twiddling duties and was largely recorded in the Salford studio favoured by Elbow, is big, bold and bristling with confidence. It is the sound of a band working out what they are good at and turning the quality control up to eleven.

Lead single ‘Cough Cough’ kicks off proceedings with its swivelling beats and narcotic hook, while ‘Kemosabe’ soars around Jonathan Higgs’ fine falsetto. Indeed, Higgs’ vocal is central to the record’s allure. Throughout ‘Arc’ he flits across the vocal register with control and poise. The album is a consistent  beast, delivering its thrilling gifts with  metronomic aplomb, be it on ‘Torso Of The Week’ which shifts from dappled guitars to a surging roar in a deft blink, the sumptuous strings of ‘Duet’ that frame compact harmonies or the mighty math-funk of ‘Feet To Hands’. It’s magnificent stuff.

A particularly snarky critic may suggest pruning a couple of the thirteen tracks, but feels churlish to nitpick an album fuelled by the prettiest of ambition. On this showing, Everything Everything’s career arc is set for the stratosphere.

8/10

Words by JOHN FREEMAN

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