Everything Everything - Arc

It’s maximalism to the max on the Manchester quartet’s not-so-difficult second album.

Label: RCA

Rating: 8

Everything Everything made themselves known with their adventurous debut, ‘Man Alive’, delighting and confusing with their Beyoncé-meets-barbershop singing of mondegreen lyrics about sitting on the fence (or was that face?). But this time, things are different. ‘Arc’ sees a stripped-back, ‘more accessible’ band.

But don’t fret - if you know EE, you’ll know we’re not talking a record of acoustic ballads. It’s maximalism to the max. Single ‘Cough Cough’ first led the charge, hinted by the group as a response to the 2011 riots (‘I’m coming alive / I’m happening now’) - who’d have thought it’d be them writing the most biting song on the subject? It was the most dynamic we’d seen the Manchester-based quartet, and yet here are twelve songs that are even better!

‘Arc’ holds a middle-finger up to the ‘difficult second album’ myth, showing the band to have mastered control over when to throw everything at the canvas (‘Kemosabe’, ‘Torso Of The Week’) and when to rein it all in to allow the tenderness of their songwriting and Jonathan Higgs’ vocal to take centre stage (‘The Peaks’, ‘Duet’, ‘Arc’). Sure - the record may succeed as a commercial triumph. And they’ll always have some sitting on the fence. But rest assured, ‘Arc’ will enchant for many years to come as a blueprint of British pop majesty.