Everything Everything, Strom, Munich, 5 December 2015

Get_to_Heaven_Everything_EverythingI am a recent convert to the music of Everything Everything, a 4/5-piece based in Manchester, formed in 2007. This tour co-incides with the release of their 3rd album, Get to Heaven (left). We were first exposed to them on Jools Holland’s BBC music show, Later. I distinctly recall noting that they were rubbish. The lead singer, Jonathan Higgs, had a ridiculous hairstyle and sang in falsetto (too much Bee Gees imagery for me). Alas, my partner put me right. I bought the album and then booked us two tickets for this gig. And what a gig it was.

The set was a near complete rendition of the album, plus a few oldies, Kemosabe, for example, which was nominated as Best Contemporary Song at the 2014 Ivor Novello Awards, amongst others. The first thing to say is that the band have an extraordinary presence to which their TV performance did not do justice. Higgs engages with the audience and genuinely seems to be enjoying himself.

The second thing to say is that the band’s music is curious. I would call it20151205_214133 Post-modern, a collage of styles, genres and techniques that, generally, work together. That is perhaps the skill. But lyrically – and certainly the songs on Get to Heaven – render this album worthy of attention. It is an acutely contemporary political statement/observation set to music. They are on the right side of the political spectrum. It does feel rather uncomfortable actually enjoying it when its subject matter includes Islamic State, the 2015 UK general election and mass shootings.

20151205_220524But even with the knowledge about what the album is about, it is still rather esoteric. Take, for example, Reptiles, where the lyric “Oh baby it’s alright, it’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair old enough to run. Old enough to fire a gun” is chillingly surreal if nothing else. The opening track, To the Blade, is seemingly about the beheading of captives by IS. It starts with “So you think there’s no meaning in anything that we do?” Distant Past kicks off the theme of time – “Take me to the distant past, I want to go back”. But why? The printed lyrics are not much help. “Saw off my stinking limbs, blood dripping down my sunken monkey chin”. Maybe. “Did you ever watch your life slide out of your hands?” (Regrets) and then the mild relief of “Spring, Summer, Winter, Dread, I don’t want to get older”. This is a beguiling apocalypse.

 

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