Everything Everything have been hard to pigeonhole from the very beginning. More pop-oriented than their math rock peers, but too odd for the mainstream. Re-Animator is the fifth album by the Manchester four-piece and while this new LP is unmistakably them, with singer Jonathan Higgs’ unique octave-frolicking vocals and the band’s dynamic layered instrumentals, there’s a definite shift in urgency.
In Birdsong is a moving ballad of stumbling rhythms and glistening guitars. There’s a subtle sense of impending doom on the track with louder-growing synth sequences and instrument lines on top of a thudding bass drum, while Higgs sings of “the energy of us” – finding beauty within the noise.
Re-Animator is Everything Everything’s first release in three years and it has given the band time to reassess. Violent Sun is their most out-of-character song yet, but sure to be a real moment live. It’s their Mr Brightside, their Born To Run, their All My Friends – an end-of-the-night banger. Nevertheless, staying true to form, there’s a marbling of existential weight throughout it, which in turn proves more meaningful than any indie floor filler.
Living in a time being bombarded with staggering climate stats on the state of the planet, it proves to be a very sobering listening experience to end the song, and album, with the line: “and you know this will be gone in the morning.”
This re-animation of poise sees a less cluttered sound for the band (which, in Everything Everything terms, is still fairly layered), with an attention focused on the art of song writing – rather than being propelled by an interesting beat or synth sequence to write a tune. Stand out tracks like Lost Powers and The Actor are testament to this new construction and show a more contained side to the art rockers, while still retaining all the beauty and fragility of previous releases.
Although Re-Animator is considerably less boisterous than previous releases they have retained their bold character in brimming soundscapes and layers of instrumentation, resulting in a seriously weighty record.