Everything Everything: Mountainhead (BMG) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, April 13th, 2024  

Everything Everything

Mountainhead

BMG

Feb 28, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


There are many valid metrics by which to judge a concept album. First and foremost, you want an original or novel concept. On the other hand, you don’t want a story that’s so plotted you need to read along to the album. And then there’s a question of balance—does the story overtake what should otherwise be direct musical expression? Or is the concept just a barely-there explanation, invented after the fact to make a collection of songs seem more interesting? These concerns are what keep the concept album from taking over; it is a high-risk, high-reward undertaking.

Manchester art-pop quartet Everything Everything have several times committed to a “loose concept,” like with AI on 2022’s Raw Data Feel, but with Mountainhead they commit fully to the project. Sporting a unified look in their appearance and music videos, Jonathan Higgs and company aim to tell a spec-fiction allegory of exploitation, religious devotion, technological expansionism, and, ultimately, human connection amid collapse. The lyrical mentions of story elements, like the infinite mirror at the peak of the manmade mountain as depicted in clever single “The Mad Stone,” are well-integrated, and never feel constructed or forced.

The dystopian setting is familiar water, but as usual, Everything Everything approach their topic with a colorful and skewed lens, bringing old archetypes to life in a way that sounds refreshingly earnest. Indeed, almost every song on Mountainhead is more melodic and musically direct than anything the band has done previously. It is a remarkable evolution from their 2010 debut Man Alive, on which every emotion and whiff of vulnerability seemed hidden around maze corners. This album sees the band opening up and aiming for the heart, particularly on the soaring “City Song,” as well as the pointed “R U Happy?,” which is maybe the most sincere moment in Everything Everything’s discography. As per the band’s recent promise to deliver “only bangers,” they fully deliver. Led by instant fan-favorite lead single “Cold Reactor,” these tracks include some of their catchiest and most memorable hooks.

Seven albums in, Everything Everything continue to evolve in unexpected ways. And if it takes a detailed story and extensive world-building to get music this pure and lovable from them, may they continue boldly down the concept album path. (www.everything-everything.co.uk)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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