In the centre of Shoreditch a line of twenty-something-year-old indie types are queuing outside the Village Underground. It is a hotly anticipated night at the old Victorian warehouse, although the lucky ticket-holders aren’t showing their enthusiasm as they saunter into the basement with nonchalant gazes. Inside, however, there is no pretending, as the mass of early-comers head right up to the stage, awaiting falsetto expressions and math-rock formulas.
The lights go out and a roar of cheer bounces across the crowd from the rear to the stage. Everything Everything have arrived. Without introduction, the quirky four-piece open with the jittery and erratic ‘Suffragette Suffragette’. “Cause you’re gonna sit on your fence when I’m not there” echoes through the room, with some fans singing the once assumed, and much more amusing, “face” instead of fence, that sounds from the recording. Jonathan Higgs’s unique blend of staccato falsetto fuses ‘90s rap and demure choirboy with impressive effect.
The next couple of songs replace the detached pulses of the opener with shrill drawn out notes, but unfortunately morph into one another a little too easily. No matter though, for then the room is swathed in red light and the band launch into ‘MY KZ, UR BF’, that features disparate lines such as “it’s like we’re sitting in the Faraday cage” alongside “I wanna know what happened to your boyfriend / ‘Cos he was looking at me like ‘woah’.” Their references are as varied as their jaunty rhythms. Swirly number ‘Final Form’ also translates wonderfully live, inviting listeners to bask in its hazy, high-pitched tones.
The quartet play a handful of surprise new tracks throughout the gig in anticipation of the upcoming release of ‘Arc’ in January, and if these are anything to go by, their second album will be another strong offering. Of these ‘The Peaks’ stands out; a stunning, iridescent contribution with magical harmonies that call to the vulnerability of Antony & The Johnsons and the dreamlike tones of Wild Beasts.
New single ‘Cough Cough’ follows, and Everything Everything’s deconstructed and offbeat rhythms and chants bellow from the walls of the packed cavern once more. It’s a little more boisterous and assertive than the tracks from their debut, and it suits them well, with the fast pace building up to a panic that this time matches their lyrics: “It’s creeping its way through my windows / and it’s slithering under my door.”
After returning on stage for an encore, Everything Everything leave fans with the synth-heavy ‘Photoshop Handsome’. It is not their most mature work, but the stomping drums and speedy delivery provide an uplifting end to the night. The entire crowd sings along and Higgs’s face glows with delight; they are a band who remain gracious and grounded despite the heights of their success. At the close of the set it is as clear as ever why Everything Everything demand to be listened to. They refuse to sound obvious, and for that they are commended.
Words by Ellie Bothwell