Everything Everything – Mountainhead

Synth-pop gloss that challenges and entrances...

Expecting ‘normal’ from Everything Everything would be silly at this point – they made an album in collaboration with AI, for crying out loud. They have always had their own brand of strange, and ‘Mountainhead’ is no different.

Album opener ‘Wild Guess’ is groovy, melodic, and guitar twisting, detuning before Higgs saunters in and introduces us to the album’s world-building. I don’t mean that as a metaphor, by the way, just listen closely. Synths and lyrics are equally alien throughout – ‘a bomb for a body, a hammer for a head’ is an early odd image – and single ‘Cold Reactor’ sticks out as prototypical Everything Everything – catchy as hell, conceptual songwriting.

The interlude-like ‘TV Dog’ has Jonathan Higgs at his most Thom Yorke, particularly at the track’s close. ‘Mountainhead’ slows somewhat after this, with ‘Canary’ warbling and floating. ‘Don’t Ask Me To Beg’ is the band at its most danceable, almost an IDM track in its beat. The climactic ‘Dagger’s Edge’ highlights the project’s second half, tying up the album’s narrative with lines like ‘I ate that bullet like it was a vitamin’.

Surprisingly low-key, the final track ‘The Witness’ echoes Yazoo of all acts, closing out the album softly, miles from where we began. A new listener to Everything Everything may not be fully converted, but the synth-pop twinkles coating this record freshen up their sound.

7/10

Words: Jack Oxford

Dig This? Dig Deeper: Duran Duran, Squarepusher, Foals

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