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Arc

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Jan. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rca
  • ASIN: B0093TAQA8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,535 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Arc is the follow up album to Everything Everything's Mercury Prize-nominated debut Man Alive, and continues to deliver the unique sound that has become the trademark of the indie art-rockers from Manchester.

BBC Review

There used to be talk of “that difficult second album” for British indie bands, but a more recent syndrome has been the follow-up to the tentative debut that signals an artistic and commercial breakthrough.

Everything Everything have returned with an album that finds them calming down their madly jerky math-pop in a considered bid for the mainstream, one designed to capitalise on the top 20 success of their 2010 debut – and Mercury Prize nominee – Man Alive.

Singer-guitarist and principal songwriter Jonathan Higgs has been described Arc as a simpler distillation of his ideas and a more direct expression of his feelings, which tended to come across before in unstoppable torrents.

There are songs here that comprise bite-size fragments of multifarious melodies, drawing on myriad influences. But there are also tracks that sustain one tune and tempo over the duration, where previously only three or four would do.

Of course, all things are relative: there are still occasions when Everything Everything sound like a riot in a melody factory. And they still sound furiously intelligent, like Manchester’s anti-Oasis. If Alt-J and Django Django marked the victory of brainy indie boys over rock lads in 2012, it was Everything Everything who blazed a trail for them.

Arc appears to have been assembled by pop professors familiar with algorithms – or should that be all-go rhythms? Higgs is more likely to sing about Geiger counters and Richter scales than he is cigarettes and alcohol. First single Cough Cough is science fiction dance music, less funky than jerky, like a prog version of RnB: think Timbaland if he cocked an oblique ear to Yes.

Producer David Kosten gives everything a bright, clean sound, all the better to hear Higgs employing that opinion-splitting falsetto of his as he wails about “genuflecting in a penitent way”, as he does on Kemosabe, or alluding to the Falklands and the Balkans as he does on Undrowned. It’s no clearer what Higgs is singing about, but he at least makes you want to sing along.

And you can imagine this working live – the riffs and choruses, when the band settles on them, are hooky enough to become crowd-pleasers. They haven’t quite decided on a mood: The Peaks is slow and sepulchral, while Don’t Try has the angular punch of Peter Gabriel at his best. But they're moving in the right direction. Their third album should be massive.

--Paul Lester

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an essential purchase if you liked Everything Everything's first album Man Alive. Building on that excellent debut, Arc feels more controlled, slightly more consistent and has some wonderful flowing, complicated but accessible tunes. You know you're being challenged when the first lyrics on the first track are "(Cough cough) Yeah.... (Cough cough) So.... (Cough cough) Um.... (Cough cough) Wait a second...." but don't worry - it's just Everthing Everthing messing with you right from the start.
Jonathan Higgs's typically falsetto voice lends a tenderness undercut with menace to twisting, challenging lyrics (you'll need them as you did for Man Alive). The first 7 tracks belt out finely crafted song after song, with a brief pause for the short, slight title track.
Nothing quite like the almost-commercial-but-too-clever-to-be Photoshop Handsome from Man Alive is here, although The Peaks is reminiscent of the stark beauty of NASA Is On Your Side (the best track from Man Alive for me).
Armourland, Choice Mountain, Duet and (the first single) Kemosabe jump out initially as wonderful exercises in writing and performing intelligent, non-conformist pop. Undrowned starts like a poem set to a nursery rhyme, but builds and builds. It all flows wonderfully and although this is written after only a few plays I think this will build to become one of those rare albums where you don't want to skip a track. This album, like its predecessor, almost hides the complexity and stream of consciousness lyrics, which are right out there and demand you to read along to the songs. Feet for Hands is both weird and joyful ("let's get up off the floor and use our feet for hands").
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By Brian Hamilton TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am really digging this CD. Not normally a fan of Radio 1 but last summer I heard the first single from the album, Cough Cough, being played a few times and was instantly hooked. The band were interviewed and started riffing about their inspirations, rather than the usual 'my girl left me' or 'I really fancy so and so' they were blasting on about time, space and stepping outside of the universe.

Anyway, I wishlisted this CD and got it upon its release. I basically bought this blind, the only song I had heard was the Cough Cough single, so I was a bit worried that the rest of the CD would be filler rather than killer.

Wrong! The tracks are all so strong, they all shine and stand on their own two feet.

The music is so different, the lead singer sounds a bit like Chris Martin doing falsetto and singing about gym freaks and coiled hearts but its all good. However, rather than other 'different' music which can sometimes be a little inaccessible (I'm thinking Animal Collective, Maps etc.) this is different but immediately strikes a chord.

Even my wife and kids have been singing along, Kemosabe and Duet seem to be particular favourites. Family friendly is all to the good, when I play Neutral Milk Hotel I get chased out of the room and Hollywood Undead? Forget about it, too much cussing.

If you like good music that has been well produced check this out, complex but accessible, multi-layered and interesting, way better than the trailerloads of pap that is currently being shipped by the studios.

Utterly essential.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Everything Everything's second album is absolutely great. Whilst the first album seemed like quite a mash up of different musical types and seemed very experimental, this album seems to show that the band have found their own sound and the songs seem more consistent. The quirky lyrics and upbeat music make for very catchy music, and as soon as the album finishes you'll want to start it again straight away. Brilliant album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With this album, Dutch Uncles and Villagers all coming out this week I had the make the choice as to first listen and this was the choice. I have listened to the album three times now and all I can say is Wow! It's very difficult to describe - maybe there are shades of early Elbow and Field Music in there and from an earlier era Anthony Moore/More of Slapp Happy - but they definitely make their own music and this is as varied and catchy an album as any I have heard in the last year.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jonathan Higgs writes great pop songs. Quite brilliant, intelligent, infectious, and inventive pop songs in fact. Not only that but the band can play these often complex arrangements expertly. And this album contains more than its fair share of classic examples. My top tracks include "Duet", "Choice Mountain", the heart-wrenching "The Peaks", and "Undrowned" where the band remind Radiohead of the impact made by rapier-like brevity.
I'm being mean and tough by only giving 'Arc' four stars - it really is an excellent album, but its only because I believe they are yet to hit their stride completely and I'm sure even greater things are still to come...
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I have to admit that this was my introduction to the band. After hearing Kemosabe a few times on the radio I used Shazam to find out the artist and bought the vinyl on the strength of one song alone.
I am not disappointed. It's a fine album, which in parts kind of reminds me of some old Peter Gabriel stuff, amongst a few other things. The music largely defies comparison though as there are so many influences mixed in here as to make it hard to pin down. There are some real stand out tunes, namely the three songs which have been selected for release as singles. This is an album I have played many times.
I will say this though, I bought 'Man Alive' on the strength of many reviews of this album, expecting a raw, hit and miss affair but though I like Arc, Man Alive is in a different league and one of the best rock albums of the last ten years IMHO. I cannot fathom why anybody could think that Arc is an improvement on that. I hope that when EE come to release their third album it more closely follows the production values and variety of their first release.
Arc is, though, still a decent album. Four stars
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