wed 29/06/2022

Album: Everything Everything - Raw Data Feel | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Everything Everything - Raw Data Feel

Album: Everything Everything - Raw Data Feel

Manchester indie art-rockers experiment successfully with musical AI

Finding ghosts in the machines

Since their 2010 debut, Man Alive, Everything Everything have dissected the various structures of human relationships, from socio-political to interpersonal, but all in their own experimental art-rock sound.

As a result, their recent albums took on an uncanny relevance: 2017’s A Fever Dream was inflected by the uncertainty of Brexit and Trumpian rhetoric, while 2020’s Re-Animator was heavily poignant amidst the isolating pandemic owing to its deep, personal introspection and drawing from Julian Haynes’ theory of the bicameral mind. Now on Raw Data Feel they cast a curious glance over our relationship with technology.

Not explicitly conceptual, the technological focus is instead characterised by a synth-dominant sound. Meanwhile, to aid the writing process vocalist Jonathan Higgs inputted various literature, from Beowulf to 40,000 internet forum comments – as bassist Jeremy Pritchard describes “the extremes of ancient wisdom, literate beauty and modern horror” – into an AI programme. This helped create an added layer of the unexpected to the usual wit of Higgs’ lyrics and the band’s musicality.

It could have translated into something cold and distant, but instead Raw Data Feel is full of warmth and character. The trio of singles (“Bad Friday”, “Pizza Boy”, “I Want A Love Like This”), while each marked by their own quirks, also share an upbeat energy. “Bad Friday” in particular – evoking the hazy recollection of nights out by scrawling through social media – stands out with looping vocals and jutting synths.

Away from the singles, though, Raw Data Feel truly shines. “Metroland is Burning” glistens with sparkly synths, luscious guitars and warm bass lines, all over crisp drums. Tinged with loss and grief, “Leviathan” occupies the emotional centre of the album, somewhat reminiscent of “In Birdsong”, the disarmingly sombre lead single of Re-Animator.

The album launches online again with the trap-beat led “Shark Week” that envelopes all with cinematic chords. “Cut UP!” and “Hex” follow, continuing the aggressive barrage. The latter, in particular, evokes 2015’s Get To Heaven with Higgs channelling the same cutting and agitated energy.

Things all culminate in the filmic expansiveness of “Software Greatman”. “I don’t know how to get over this thing/Because it’s always there,” sings Higgs, encapsulating how entrenched and inescapable technology is in our lives. Raw Data Feel also feels heartfelt, balancing positivity with sombre moods, and capturing the duality in our technological experiences: a helpful, connective tool, but also cause and enabler of harm and vitriol. Supercharged with spontaneity and creativity, Raw Data Feel is a heady commentary on organic life’s love/hate relationship with the synthetic.

Below: watch the video for "Pizza Boy" by Everything Everything

Comments

Absolutely love this album. Such an interesting band, making the absurd very very listenable.

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