Everything Everything - Re-Animator
Sep 11, 2020
Crucify me immediately for it, but this is actually my first foray into Everything Everything. I've heard plenty of praise for the groups last decade of material, especially in regard to their heavily praised album Get To Heaven which by some is considered a cult favorite, but for whatever reason the group have continued to allude me. Although there are certainly some things to enjoy about the Manchester collective and I can see where some of the cult appeal comes from, jumping into the album without any context left me with a pretty noticeable thought in my head that I couldn't seem to shake.

A quick look at a few of the reviews, notably the less stellar Pitchfork review, seemingly confirmed it. An even quicker glance at some information about them solidified it. Everything Everything is a little too direct about their Radiohead influence.

Now, being influenced by one of the most important musical acts of the last few decades, and one of my all time favorite groups, isn't by any means a new concept. Virtually any musical act, especially one from the UK, has probably been influenced in some fashion by Radiohead, whether that be directly or indirectly. Their importance for music is not something you really have to convince anyone of anymore.

Everything Everything are just a great deal honest about that influence. They not only cite the group as an influence, their name is directly pulled from the opening track to Kid A. It all shows, to be truthful, with some songs only vaguely borrowing from Radiohead and other songs feeling almost like a complete rip-off.

Lead vocalist Jonathan Higgs has moments in which he uses dangerously similar inflection mimicking Thom Yorke, utilizing the kind of ethereal yet grand patterns that make Yorke considered one of the best rock vocalists. The instrumentation, while often taking a bit more of an indietronica detour, still feels heavily reminiscent to the kinds of guitar work and even drum patterns that would be heard on a Radiohead song.

Don't believe me? Listen to It Was A Monstering. The opening forty seconds have this kind of electronic blanket that gently rests on you, then the covers are ripped off as Higgs croons in his best Yorke impression and Robertshaw plucks at the guitar with an identical style in mind. Many of the songs could be seen as similar offenders, like the chorus of Planets or the larger vocals on In Birdsong, but It Was A Monstering is the clearest attempt.

I don't want to suggest the group don't divert from being just a Radiohead replay. The group have a more direct influence to indie rock, like the opener Lost Powers, and even show some eclectic and pulsating motions on a song like Big Climb that has some fun electronics and stranger and more unique vocals. Violent Sun feels more like England natives Foals rather than their more obvious influence. But even when the group tries to venture down their own path, it seems like they're constantly looking over their shoulder.

Here's the thing. The album, realistically, is a fun listen. To be able to make something even slightly similar to Radiohead is a feat in its own right and requires a great deal of vocal and musical skill. I could imagine that on their previous albums the group really were trailblazers in terms of pushing the envelope and making something inventive. The problem is that there is no real invention on Re-Animator; just friendly borrowing and repackaging. I'd much rather put on the real thing by the end of the day.

Favorite track: Big Climb
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