Everything Everything - Arc
'Cough. Cough. Cough.' It might not be the punchy intro you might expect of heralded Manchester indie boys Everything Everything but cast aside any assumptions and indulge in the outcome of the justified hype. The single 'Cough Cough', with its irregular polyrhythms and twitching electronic riff make for a backbone of instability and it's an attention-grabbing start to a much anticipated album.
Arc's addictive uneasiness is its USP. Much in the vein of the grandfathers of awkward Radiohead, falsetto vocals tiptoe the narrow corridor between irregular percussive patterns and precisely misplaced melodies - with a smattering of electronica for good measure. Compared to their debut release Man Alive, this second offering is much more cohesive. Toned down is the angular, jagged math rock influence which set them apart from much of 2010's indie scene, although erratic song structures still make up the album's heart. Standout track 'Undrowned' is a perfect example, its Bloc Party-esque vocals sit atop a haunting key-led vibe which gathers speed until it hits psychotic pace. It proves to be the album's cornerstone. Closing track 'Don't Try' epitomizes the winning formula - less is definitely more.
Lyrically they veer between intimate romanticism ('Armourland') and the deep philosophical stuff sought from the deepest darkest caverns of vocalist Jonathan Higgs' brain. The four intent stares gracing the album artwork add a visual depth to the seriousness of their complex content. It's intense stuff, but still disgustingly catchy - this is a soundtrack which would be as equally at home on a festival field as it would in a car driving home at 3am.
EE have captured the qualities which made their debut stand out and blended them subtly to create a sprawling juggernaut that will play out through coming months. The ink may be barely dry on the 'Best Of's' for 2012, but just two weeks into 2013 and we already have a contender for the end-of-year listings. Effortlessly eccentric, endlessly endearing, Everything Everything have given their sound the space it needed to grow and as a result look set to be one of the most exciting bands the British scene has to offer.