Album Review: Everything Everything - 'RE-ANIMATOR'
Rife with oddball concoctions and propulsive melodia, ‘RE-ANIMATOR' is the fifth and latest full-length affair from Manchester art-pop darling's Everything Everything. Robyn Walford takes a critical probe to the mayhem, and unpacks perhaps the closest offering yet to a sonic manifestation of our uncanny times.
Despite only hitting shelves and ears on September 11th, ‘RE-ANIMATOR' has gripped fans and critics alike through it's capturing of the bizarre introspectiveness of pandemic life. Prior to lockdown, the band's weird-pop helped them sell-out London's esteemed Alexandra Palace and this album, albeit different to previous works, seems set to continue their booming trajectory.
Whilst the troop have previously used their music to criticise the turbulent social climate, ‘RE-ANIMATOR's discography seems to focus more liberally on internal psychological matters. The record was influenced by Julian Jaynes’ idea of bicameralism, vibrant frontman Jonathan Higgs revealed in a recent interview with NME. “At one time humans had two separate minds, one inside each half of the brain… the eventual melding of these two minds into the two-sided human brain we have now was the dawn of mankind’s consciousness.”
Emphatic opener Lost Powers introduces this exploration into the human brain with lyrics such as “come on, you’ve only lost your mind.” The lulling instrumentation feels near hypnotic against Higgs’ distinctive vocals, and the final breakdown adds squawking guitars to the mix with unlikely success. Big Climb, with its brisk mix of rap, falsetto and general chaos is, contrastingly, a quintessential Everything Everything bop. With the release of ‘Get to Heaven’ in 2015 however, the band set an astronomical precedent, and beyond these two transcendent tracks, the newest record perhaps feels a little tame.
It Was a Monstering occupies the darker side of ‘RE-ANIMATOR’ with it's distinctly Radiohead-esque vibe. Haunting vocals atop stripped-back guitar lines conjure up swirling, psychedelic soundscapes that feel worlds away from the chaotic odd-pop pandemonium of the band's earlier full-lengths. The Actor is a similarly thoughtful affair that explores Jaynes’ neurological theory in the greatest detail. Explicit references to bicameralism and discussions of voices inside the narrators mind are set to twinkling synths that lull and swell throughout the song, before spilling over in one of the record's most calamitous conclusions.
‘Despite lacking the eccentricity of their best works, 'RE ANIMATOR' is a deeply interesting and thought-provoking listen’
Arch Enemy narrates the unusual tale of a fat-berg that has come alive. Hailing to the bizarre imagery of album's gone by, the track uses rich lyricism and a zippy, disco groove to bring the story to life. Featuring, naturally, a smiling, dancing fat-berg in the sewer, the music video is certainly worth a watch too. Final track Violent Sun contrastingly resembles a love song, with Higgs’ describing his experience of being swept up in a whirlwind romance. Here, such a contrast between songs captures the whimsical chaos of Everything Everything that much else of the record has sorely missed.
Despite lacking the eccentricity of their best works however, ‘RE-ANIMATOR’ is a deeply interesting and thought-provoking listen that tackles perhaps some of the band's most intelligent themes to date.
Words by: Robyn Walford
Edited by: Olivia Stock