Label: Geffen Release date: 30/08/2010 Website: Myspace Buy: Amazon Amongst the most surprising bands of recent years to find themselves a home on the commercial radio daytime playlists, Everything Everything were one of the 15 acts identified over Christmas by the BBC set to be the ‘Sound Of 2010’. Now after a succession of singles that garnered praise from all directions, they release their debut album ‘Man Alive’, a record with a genre that is identified as ‘unclassifiable’ on iTunes. The four piece, who hail from Newcastle and Manchester, were also tipped by this website to be one of the must-see bands of this year. Now, does the album live up to the promise? Opening with the annoyingly-titled ‘My KZ Ur BF’, a song that takes no time in helping you enter the considerably warped but adventurous minds of Everything Everything. Plenty of vocal harmonies, hard-to-comprehend lyrics and a hook to die for, it’s a compelling introduction to the album. ‘Qwerty Finger’ follows, and opens with some handclapping sounds that soon make way for a blast of Deerhoof-esque powerpop before a breakdown lets vocalist Jon Higgins show off his impressive falsetto with some fantastic “Ayy-Aahs”, alongside giving you a brief respite. This doesn’t last long though, as the album gathers more craft and ingenuity on every song. Nowhere is this more apparent than on ‘Schoolin’, four minutes of inventive pop, with a slight white boy hip-hop undertone, that’ll live in the mind for a long time afterwards – it’s also one of those songs that’ll garner all sorts of imaginative dance routines at the indie disco. ‘Leave The Engine Room’ shows the band at their calmest, and comes across as a quieter Wild Beasts overloaded with synths, which is a tremendous sound indeed. The band showcase their fun side on ‘Photoshop Handsome’, the song that seemingly first really pricked up those “in the know” types’ ears with its ridiculous and unfashionably awesome keyboard intro, alongside the memorable opening lines: “I will gain an extra life, when I get the high score.” The keys are such a prominent sound throughout the album and although they could have easily hovered into “too twee” territory, it is to the band’s credit that they are so innovative with the sound that repeated listens reap rewards, and you’ll end up discovering more each time. A peculiar bunch, weird and wonderful genius lyrics also abound on their first ever single ‘Suffragette Sufraggette’: “I'm calm, now absent, I'm date-rape yellow, black to the liver come on.” The eccentric themes continue on ‘Two For Nero’, with talk amongst trademark falsettos of Game Gears, the death of Sega and fucking the O-Zone – probably not about the much-missed BBC 2 show, but with this lot it wouldn’t be surprising. Despite these topics, it really is quite laid-back, and contains gospel-like vocal arrangements before a sumptuous acapella finishes the song in style. This is one of the areas in which Everything Everything really excel – they know how to end a song with a bang, ‘Come Alive Diana’ has a crazy post-jazz conclusion, with all kinds of brass sounds going into meltdown amongst talk of the liberty bell. And the album closer ‘Weights’ is all minimalist and unassuming before slowly building into the addictive chant of “I know how it ends” underneath a clamour of swelling and triumphant post-rock noise. A staple of their live set, it is the perfect ending to the album and is followed by 30 seconds of quiet that gently helps you ease back into reality. ‘Man Alive’ will not be to everyone’s tastes, but for those who like daring and original music, complete with incredible vocals and harmonies, it will be considered a bit of an oddball masterpiece. Photobucket