In support of their new album Mountainhead, Manchester’s own Everything Everything are playing two shows at New Century in March.
No one does it quite like Everything Everything. Weaving dystopian, Black Mirror-style concepts into songs that find the sweet spot between esoteric experimentation and art pop accessibility, the band’s music is as infectious as it is thought-provoking.
Formed in Manchester in 2007, the band (Jonathan Higgs, Jeremy Pritchard, Michael Spearman and Alex Niven, since replaced by Alex Robertshaw) shot out of the blocks with their wildcard debut album Man Alive. Thrilling some and confounding others, it fused math rock with glitchy electronica and bizarro pop, with Jonathan Higgs’ elastic vocals pinging between octaves on top. It sounded nothing like the identikit indie bands of the time, and rightly earned them a Mercury Prize nomination.
By degrees, their follow-up albums (2013’s Arc, 2015’s Get To Heaven and 2017’s Mercury-nominated A Fever Dream) dialled back the freneticism and let the hooks do the talking. The lyrics, though, were as dense as ever, each record conceptualising a different facet of mankind’s desperate self-destruction, often centred on technology. 2019’s Raw Data Feel followed suit, with the band feeding everything from 4Chan forum posts to the teachings of Confucius into an AI program, using its responses as a basis for the lyrics and titles.
The new album, Mountainhead, readying for launch on 1 March 2024, imagines an alternate society in which those at the lowest rung of society’s ladder are forced to work relentlessly to keep its elite elevated. While it’s an idea that looks to a nightmarish future, it’s full of metaphors for our current existence, from capitalism and environmentalism to religion and celebrity worship.
We’ve heard two tunes so far, both with an art pop heart coloured by an array of off-kilter production touches and alt pop accessibility. The first earworm single ‘Cold Reactor’ laments a world lived through screens, where interaction is based on cookie cutter emojis, which represent but are in fact devoid of human emotion. The second single ‘Mad Stone’, gets into the meat of Mountainhead’s concept, which Jonathan Higgs recently laid out:
“In another world, society has built an immense mountain. To make the mountain bigger, they must make the hole they live in deeper and deeper. All of society is built around the creation of the mountain, and a mountain religion dominates all thought. At the top of the mountain is rumoured to be a huge mirror that reflects endlessly recurring images of the self, and at the bottom of the pit is a giant golden snake that is the primal fear of all believers. A ‘Mountainhead’ is one who believes the mountain must grow no matter the cost, and no matter how terrible it is to dwell in the great pit. The taller the mountain, the deeper the hole.”
Mountainhead will be another flagpole placed on a never-ending quest to bring experimentation and ambition back to pop music, and from what we’ve heard so far, it’ll be another fantastic album that speaks to both the head and the heart. We can’t wait to hear it, and to catch their homecoming shows at Manchester’s New Century, on 29 and 30 March.