The boys who have ev­ery­thing

Young English quar­tet Ev­ery­thing Ev­ery­thing are earn­ing raves for their in­tri­cate songs and ir­re­sistible cho­ruses, writes Lau­ren Mur­phy

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

HE’S hur­riedly drag­ging on his jacket, bat­tling with a dy­ing mo­bile phone bat­tery, strug­gling to pack a suit­case and nu­mer­ous mu­si­cal in­stru­ments, and try­ing his level best to con­duct an in­ter­view at the same time, but Mike Spear­man can still muster up the en­ergy to be ex­cited. Who says men can’t mul­ti­task? Later to­day, he’ll get a train to Heathrow and then a plane to Ja­pan with his band­mates. “I’ve never been, but Jonathan, our singer, has,” he ex­plains. “He climbed Mount Fuji, but he also got E coli.”

Mul­ti­task­ing is a com­mon theme with Spear­man’s band, Ev­ery­thing Ev­ery­thing. Al­though the quar­tet are by def­i­ni­tion a “gui­tar band”, their propen­sity to glue sev­eral styles, gen­res and sparkly glit­ter to that mast means that their hy­brid of funk, elec­tro-pop, in­die and disco sets them apart from the vast ma­jor­ity of their con­tem­po­raries.

The four­some met when Jonathan Higgs, lead singer and school­friend of Spear­man, met bassist Jeremy Pritchard at Manch­ester’s Salford Uni­ver­sity in 2007. Gui­tarist Alex Niven, who’s based in London, later com­pleted the line-up.

“We lived in a house to­gether and we used to re­hearse in the base­ment,” the drum­mer ex­plains. “When Alex joined the band, it was a bit of a trial-by-fire thing, be­cause we were just about to get signed. He came in and re­hearsed with us for about a week be­fore we had to start record­ing.”

It may have been a bap­tism of fire, but there are no tell-tale signs of hasti­ness or ill-prepa­ra­tion on the al­bum. Man Alive is one of the most im­pres­sive, tightly con­structed Bri­tish de­buts re­leased so far this year; it’s a beau­ti­fully paced record that em­ploys the best funk basslines, the most off-kil­ter rhythm struc­tures, the dreami­est falsetto vo­cals and the bright­est, most ir­re­sistible pop cho­ruses heard since Friendly Fires’ de­but in 2008.

The of­ten com­plex and in­tri­cate struc­tures of the record’s 12 songs – things have changed sig­nif­i­cantly since they in­tro­duced the synth to their sound, claims Spear­man – means that the band’s writ­ing and record­ing process is of­ten a hig­gledy-pig­gledy af­fair.

“Jonathan comes up with all the lyrics. He’ll bring a germ of an idea into the prac­tice room that he’ll have pro­grammed on his lap­top, and then we sort of re­verse-en­gi­neer that, in a way – we take the song apart and put it back to­gether again for ‘real’ peo­ple. Dur­ing that process, the songs nor­mally change a lot, you take out sec­tions, put sec­tions in; just try to make it as

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