Re-Animator is the fifth album from zany Mancunian rockers Everything Everything: their first studio effort in three years since 2017’s A Fever Dream.
This album shows a band very much on their game. This is as arena-ready an album as they’ve ever produced, which is certainly no bad thing. Neat (but not formulaic) opening drum loops leading into soaring choruses is symptomatic of their usual order in a black hole approach to producing music, which has proved so successful over their now ten-year career.
Bassist Jeremy Pritchard returns to the fold after a big 18 months touring with fellow art rock icons Foals as their replacement bassist, a role which he executed with aplomb. His basslines guide the album from jangly opener Lost Powers to slower more pensive tunes like It Was a Monstering which is reminiscent of a top-drawer James Blake track. The resounding baritone really comes into its own on Black Hyena, a track that moves in waves at Pritchard’s bassy behest. As a result of this, the album is a lot more coherent than previous efforts like Arc, at which point the band were still working out who they want to be.
Jonathan Higgs’ willowy falsetto is as captivating as ever, whilst also managing to show his range which can be pleasantly surprising to first-time listeners. In the same way as a Morrissey or a Philippakis, the distinct nature of the vocals can be slightly inaccessible, not least because of their complex subject matter, but once the small hurdle is cleared, there is no voice in British rock that suits this band and their style more.
Releasing four singles (In Birdsong, Arch Enemy, Planets and Violent Sun) off an eleven-track album is a brave marketing strategy, as the first three are more than enough to entice one into the album.
The significance of Violent Sun as the album closer has been lost slightly since its release as the final single. Inspired by the band’s warehouse burning down leaving equipment beyond salvaging, the video shows them playing charred instruments, lamenting having to ‘stare into the violent sun’ and knowing ‘this will all be gone in the morning.’ It’s a fitting metaphor for trying to hold onto something crumbling in our hands, whilst we contemplate an inevitable loss to which we are all inevitably careering. Bit morbid, Will. Back to it. It is certainly the most emotive track on the album, particularly when considered in conjunction with the video, so to have the closer given to us before it has the opportunity to tie the entirety of the album in a neat little bow is a little disappointing, selfish though I am being.
Let this not take away from the collective brilliance of this album: it’s a great effort from a band that would struggle to disappoint you, first time or thousandth time listener. Let it never be said Everything Everything don’t give their everything, every time.