Everything Everything have returned with their 3rd album with plenty of art rock licks and catchy hooks to spare. Distant Past is an instant foot thumping single, with words sung in a steady staccato matching the drum beat about some kind of immortal thief who brutally plunders through history, but wants to be saved from his distant past or be returned there. Regret is about the manifold regrets that plague humanity, and how we all imagined our lives would be better but that inaction, lack of will to make dreams manifest and apathy prevent us from doing anything about it, whilst also being a catchy and mocking/self-mocking anthem that examines the human frailty inherent in us all whilst having a good laugh with it all the same.
The Wheel (Is Turning Now) is an examination on the fear of mortality and is redolent of the image of the wheel of fortune – one moment you’re at the top of the world, another moment you’re being crushed by the same wheel that crested you on high, whilst simultaneously someone else takes your place at the top of the wheel. The theme of fortune continues seamlessly onto Fortune 500, in which a thief is breaking into Buckingham Palace for one last heist to ensure the future of his progeny whilst also thinking about how he’s a slave to his destiny, fated to be a thief whilst at the same time being told by the voices in his head that “he’s won.” But perhaps my favourite line comes from No Reptiles, which sums up perfectly the feeling of being a soldier thrust into a war by people who have never fought in a war with no more idea of why you’re fighting the other side other than you have been told to.
“Oh baby it's alright, it's alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair old enough to run/Old enough to fire a gun”
Everything Everything possess great talent at taking a montage of striking and sometimes horrifying images and stitching them together to make a compelling narrative of song. Replete with images of war, horror, mortality, regret and possibly an overarching story of an immortal/possibly vampiric thief, I have no reservations recommending this. Raw and brilliant, yet polished and hard like a diamond.
If you’d asked me if I thought Franz Ferdinand and The Sparks forming a supergroup, I’d say “oh ffs,” and then they’d say, “oh that’s what they’re called! How did you guess?” Johnny Delusional is a mad baroque pop track about falling in love with passing strangers, yet also borders on the parodic as the band possess the self-awareness to poke fun of themselves for it. This is epitomized by the song Collaborations Don’t Work, an obviously tongue in cheek examination of supergroups whilst also a dismissal of possible detractors. But thankfully in this case the collaboration did work, with effortlessly catchy tracks like So Desu Ne and Save Me From Myself contributing to a sonically diverse experience melding the art rock sensibilities of Franz Ferdinand with the manic chamber pop of Sparks breathing new life into both bands to make something truly new.
Originally printed in Issue #322 of the Kirkby Extra, July 2015.
I'm on my holidays next week, so you'll just have to live without me for a week. It's a desolate trial, I know, but I'm sure you'll pull through. ;-) I'll have another review up for you guys on 21/06/15. So stay frosty, troops, we'll meet again soon.
Britpop gods Blur return with The Magic Whip, their first album since 2003’s Think Tank. The album, the product of a single five day session in a Hong Kong recording studio is affected as much by both Albarn and Coxon’s solo work and the Gorrilaz, and lends to an interesting mix of old and new, and it mostly works. Lonesome Street is evocative of the band circa Parklife, complete with old school scratchy guitar and “woo, woos,” whilst tracks like Pyongyang evoke the feeling of a cold, dystopian future with synths and beeps overlaid guitars eliciting feelings of melancholy, and translocation in an unfamiliar country. The album feels like a return to form for the band, and now they’ve reformed for what might be one last jam for old time’s sake. If this is their swan song, you couldn’t ask for more.
Originally printed in Issue #321 of Kirkby Extra, June 2015.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.