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Live / stage review

Marvellous Mountainhead: Everything Everything at Network

Stockport's finest boldly take us unto the distant past.

27 February 2024 at
EE Pic 1
Steve Hunting.

Dear reader: sit yourself down. Grip on to something firm. I'm going to use the ‘C’ word. Everything Everything arrived at Sheffield's Network to unveil their upcoming album Mountainhead. And it's a… concept album.

EE Set List
Steve Hunting.

As a child of the seventies, this grizzled reviewer has had more than a passing acquaintance with thematically linked meisterworks over the years, with Quadrophenia and The Wall the exemplars among a mixed bag of ‘meh’.

Everything Everything have recently chosen to dip their toes in the conceptual waters with an offering featuring Mountainheads, Creddahornis golden snakes, and mythical mirrors representing, as frontman Jonathan Higgs explains, "a belief that the mountain must grow, whatever the cost. The taller the mountain, the bigger the hole. It's late-stage capitalism.

It's a pretty clear metaphor for our times where the gap between rich (top of the mountain) and poor (deep in the pit) is growing. But credit indeed must go to a band that unashamedly have the confidence and self-belief to carry this off. And carry it off they do, to the extent of having the temerity to play the lion's share of songs from the LP before it's even released.

Brave indeed, but it's a gamble that succeeds marvellously. Higgs, bassist Jeremy Pritchard, drummer Michael Spearman and guitarist Alex Robertshaw eschew any force-fed new album razzmatazz (the lighting is minimal to say the least) and let the songs do the heavy lifting. ’The Mad Stone’, ‘Wild Guess’, ‘The End Of The Contender’, the lyrically whip-smart ‘Buddy, Come Over’, ‘RU Happy?’ a coruscating couplet of ‘Canary’ and ‘Enter The Mirror’, ‘Your Money, My Summer’, ‘Daggers Edge’ and current single ‘Cold Reactor’ showcase ten of the LP's 14 tracks, before long-time favourites ‘Night Of The Long Knives’, ‘Pizza Boy’ and singalong epics ’Spring/Sun/Winter Dread’ and ‘No Reptiles’ close the all too swift hour-long set.

I recently wrote that Bombay Bicycle Club have grown in confidence by pursuing their own sonic route at the expense of taking the safe option, subsequently finding themselves infused with a new lease of life. It's the same story with Everything Everything. They’re doubling down on a path of musical development structured on their own terms, and it's clearly opening up opportunities for their poptimist aesthetic to grow and thrive. Long may it continue.

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