Fun as The Libertines’ reunion dates reputedly were, the most remarkable thing about the return of Doherty and Barât’s rum crew was just how old fashioned their music seemed in 2010. Not necessarily in a bad way, but considering The Libs have a reasonable claim to being the quintessential British indie band of the Noughties, it’s astonishing how little bearing they have on contemporary music. These days, even Arctic Monkeys carry a surprising lack of cultural clout when you consider their popularity a scant five years ago.
It says a lot about Everything Everything that the kitchen sink turns up right at the start of their debut album, in the unusually intelligible lyrics to MY KZ, UR BF. The Manchester-based quartet really do throw everything, but everything, at their music in a laudable bid to sound unique. Inevitably, influences can still be detected, chief among them the Futureheads: in the jagged vocal harmonies and Jonathan Higgs's staccato singing; in the jittery rhythms; in the surprising degree of pop nous.
There's a recurring gag on "The Simpsons" based around Homer's gluttony leading to all manner of culinary curiosities: sometimes the results work, as with his patented Space-Age Out-of-This-World Moon Waffles (caramel, waffle batter, a stick of butter, liquid smoke); more often than not, he finds out the hard way that a combination of, say, Tom Collins mix, cloves, and a frozen pie crust is no substitute for a decent breakfast. Like that disaster, Everything Everything's debut LP, Man Alive, is proof that enthusiastic experimentation can't save your end product when the underlying elements are so incompatible and unappetizing. Even before you consider their name, song titles like "My Kz, Ur Bf", "Qwerty Finger", and "Photoshop Handsome" imply EE are a product of media overload and social-networking culture-- the self-absorbed musical equivalent of having 12 browsers open at the same time.
Wilfully eccentric and endlessly entertaining debut from the Manchester quartet. Alix Buscovic 2010 “I was making music in my bedroom [during my childhood]. My one rule was not to sound like anyone else.” Judging by his band’s debut album, lead singer Jonathan Higgs rarely had to send himself to the naughty step. For while you might detect an occasional Yeasayer bass noodle or lei-wearing Vampire Weekend riff, this Manchester quartet flee from any identikit indie clique, throwing ever-changing, protean sonic shapes.