Live Review: Everything Everything // Alexandra Palace, London

The exhilarating rush as the lights go out and the crowd screams in joyous unison, Everything Everything know how to make an entrance. The colliding forces of the group set forth with the opening swoon of ‘A Fever Dream’, the title track from their latest album. The ethereal start soon surrenders to a much more flamboyant soundscape, complete with lead singer Higgs’ slightly bonkers lyrics.

The jagged merry-go-round speeds as Everything Everything lace together a setlist consisting of tracks spanning their four-album catalogue. ‘Cough Cough’ of 2013’s Arc is frantic, ever-changing bliss, whilst ‘Zero Pharaoh’ and ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ swoon with a more pulsating, lucid nature. Jonathan Higgs’ glittering vocals take full ownership of the staccato framework, inserting a dynamic stream of consciousness into the mix. 

Their innovative electronic melodies combine with the grandiose guitar riffs, and yet, despite this, Everything Everything do at times stumble in the complexity of their own melodies. The grand venue sometimes seeming to swallow the Manchester quartet.

Through the mere absurdity of the lyrics and the foundation of their sound, Everything Everything explore the facets of masculinity, from the eclectic synth hooks and falsetto to the gloom and depth of their darker side. The ability to bring this together is perhaps their most distinct trait, and yet it can make the show a bit of a messy rollercoaster.

‘Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread’’s distinct beat dances through the room to great pleasure for the fans that really put their best side forth tonight. You can say a lot about Everything Everything, but it is an undeniable fact that they know how to get people to dance and enjoy themselves. If only they realised that the singalong still demands a leading voice from the frontman. Whilst Higgs shows an impressive vocal range throughout the show, it just has to be admitted that falsetto doesn’t work well for singalongs, especially when you leave the crowd hanging. The extravagant guitar solo leads into the inevitable crescendo of the song, the show must go on.

The kind of wide-eyed approach to instrumentation and melodic layers that Everything Everything have come with signals their great intentions. Yet, it takes more attention live, and in the heat of the moment, some of the initial grace sadly loses out.

The beaming guitars still light the way as the set comes to a close. Mammoth hit, ‘Distant Past’ takes a victory lap before the slightly bizarre ‘No Reptiles’ brings the set full circle in a majestic, cinematic, though slightly odd manner. Everything Everything have every tool in the box, and somehow it comes together like a Pollock painting, without the excuse of abstract expressionism.

Words by Aurora Henni Krogh, Photos by Patrick Gunning

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Aurora Henni Krogh

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