Everything Everything: Raw Data Feel (Infinity Industries/AWAL) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, August 18th, 2022  

Everything Everything

Raw Data Feel

Infinity Industries/AWAL

Jul 06, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Everything Everything just can’t stay still, even at the best of times. The times certainly weren’t the best last time out, as the band released their fifth album, 2020’s RE-ANIMATOR, in the midst of a still unfolding pandemic. RE-ANIMATOR was knocked out in two weeks with primary producer John Congleton back when the Manchester quartet figured it would be able to give the record the attention it deserved; we know what happened next.

Very much a casualty of circumstance⁠—warmly received, nonetheless⁠—it managed to crash the Top 5 in the UK. They found themselves with nothing but time, and band leader Jonathan Higgs found he had a whole bunch of things to get off his chest. So, with guitarist Alex Robertshaw behind the boards for the first time in earnest, they wrote an album about trying to shut out, cope with, and finally process trauma; not that one would be able to discern that before properly sitting down with the lyric sheet. Raw Data Feel is the band at its most pop-focused, with early singles “I Want a Love Like This” and “Teletype” providing surface-level thrills that are only amplified once presented in their proper context. “Maybe this will take a little time to heal,” Higgs admits on the latter, darker shades lurking beneath a suitably pristine sound: “I’m hurting, and I don’t wanna go back down inside of me.”

Much has been made of Higgs using AI to generate some of the album’s lyrical content. Sure, it provides a narrative hook, but the most impactful lines are vintage Higgs. Whom else do you know that could throw something like, “He’s Obama in the streets, but he thinks he’s Osama in the sheets” into a song like “Shark Week” and make it work? The album’s littered with such disarming moments. “Pizza Boy” delves into isolation and self-indulgence as a trauma response⁠—picking up where the flashes of violence dressed up as a wild night out left off⁠ on preceeding track “Bad Friday”—but such unsettling lyrical content is disguised by a combination of four-on-the-floor drums, handclaps, and Jeremy Pritchard’s tasteful bassline.

This band’s really good at that sort of obfuscation; plenty of these songs are an iron fist in a velvet glove, which means the ones that dispense with that approach come in like an emotional wrecking ball. Penultimate track “Born Under a Meteor” is loaded with images of living without a care in the world, seemingly oblivious to the darkness that surrounds: “Playstation 1, last of the binbag/There was nothing on our shoulders, yeah … I couldn’t walk yet, but if I could help it/Then I’d put my arms around you, put myself between you, put myself above you.” That feeling of melancholy pales in comparison to the gut-punch of “Jennifer,” whose themes of unfulfillment and depression are explored, as many of these songs are, through narratives and characters. Its chorus is unexpectedly uplifting, as light breaks through on one of the record’s most devastating tracks: “The pain, in the end, is all in your memory/Try it again, try it another way.”

That line is the glue that holds the album together; steeped in love, loss, and overwhelm, its densely layered finale “Software Greatman” neatly concludes the album’s narrative arc, coming on like Get to Heaven’s closer “Warm Healer” on a bad trip. “I don’t know how to get over this thing, ‘cause it’s always there,” Higgs laments, but in the spirit of trying it another way, he’s already made up his mind. “I just thought that maybe I’d get used to doom/But I never did, and I never will again.” Living with that trauma is difficult, but processing adverse events sometimes means having to live with them.

On their sixth album, Everything Everything are restless, but continuing to push their boundaries in spite of this. It’s possibly their most immediate offering to date⁠—a deceptively breezy 54 minutes jam-packed with hooks⁠—but musical and lyrical depth abounds. Quite removed from the idiosyncrasies of their earlier work, sure, but it makes sense that they move on with each successive record. Raw Data Feel marks the next stage in their evolution without compromising on the signature traits that got them here in the first place. Electronics to the forefront and AI involvement in the lyrics, however miniscule; and yet, there’s a warmth and humanity here that’s hard to fake, the product of a band that refuses to stay still. (www.everything-everything.co.uk)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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