We head North to join the art-rock­ers as they take on the trolls with their fourth LP.

Q (UK) - - Contents - EAMONN FORDE

In a crum­bling for­mer tex­tile mill in An­coats, Manch­ester, the artists have taken over. A quar­ter of a cen­tury ago, for­mer Man United goal­keeper and oc­ca­sional tub-thumper Peter Sch­me­ichel used to use one of the cav­ernous rooms here to prac­tise his drums but in re­cent years Every­thing Every­thing have moved into the same room to write and re­hearse their eggheaded art-rock and elec­tron­ica. The band give it three years un­til the property devel­op­ers swoop and turn the place into lux­ury flats. For now, how­ever, there’s mu­sic to be made. Fol­low­ing 2015’ s dystopian con­cept al­bum Get To Heaven –

prophet­i­cally about the rise of the far right and a world tee­ter­ing on dis­as­ter – Every­thing Every­thing have been work­ing on their fourth, as-yet-un­ti­tled, al­bum in seven years, thick with ide­o­log­i­cal in­er­tia around what to do now their pre­dic­tions of the world ex­plod­ing have come true. With great serendip­ity, Q meets with the band on the morn­ing a snap UK elec­tion is called to talk about an al­bum drown­ing in so­cial and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tain­ties. Amid racks of gui­tars, amps and flight cases, posters mark­ing the band’s ca­reer, from sup­port slots with Fu­ture­heads to their own head­line tours, line the walls of their re­hearsal space. High above the drumkit hang four welders’ masks, like taxi­der­mied an­i­mal heads. A blue felt-tip pen has rechris­tened their mini-fridge as “Mr Milky’s Milk House”. Recorded in just four weeks by pro­ducer James Ford (Arc­tic Mon­keys, Depeche Mode, Haim), the new al­bum is – from the 50 per cent Q hears – rock­ier than their art-rave of the past, al­though this

rock­ist idea makes them pull faces. Tracks are be­ing mixed and are still at the work­ing ti­tle stage, but USA is ex­plic­itly about Don­ald Trump, turn­ing his in­fan­tile in­sults against him – “You are ridicu­lous… Some­body’s go­ing to pull your big trousers down.” “It is aimed squarely at him,” says singer/ gui­tarist/key­boardist Jonathan Higgs. “It’s quite play­ground-y. It’s just on his terms.” Ad­dress­ing Michael Gove’s lunkheaded no­tion that peo­ple have had enough of ex­perts, Run The Num­bers fea­tures a gui­tar solo that al­most slips into ’ 80s metal. “We like to get close to the bad stuff,” says bassist Jeremy Pritchard.

“Right on the edge of your taste.” Good Shot, which starts like New Order be­fore es­ca­lat­ing into a soar­ing Cold­play-like outro, is full of twitchy au­thor­i­tar­ian mo­tifs, such as, “I’m a po­lice­man and you’re a crim­i­nal” and “We deleted your kin.” “It gets more spir­i­tual as it goes on,” says Pritchard. “It’s about the holy stuff.” Ivory Tower is un­doubt­edly the rawest song. Tack­ling the mur­der last June of Labour MP Jo Cox by a white su­prem­a­cist in the mid­dle of the Brexit cam­paign­ing. “That’s the mo­ment where I get it out of my sys­tem and say, ‘If you are like that, fuck you,’” ex­plains Pritchard. Much of the record’s ire sprang from spend­ing too much time down the rab­bit hole on as­sorted po­lit­i­cal boards and echo cham­bers on Red­dit, slowly real­is­ing how im­pos­si­ble it is to change or ar­gue with en­trenched think­ing. “I got too into it try­ing to make them see rea­son,” he says of his fu­tile on­line hus­tings with bel­liger­ent rightwingers. “And you are just ‘one of them’.” He dates this idea of speak­ing your brains be­com­ing a virtue, re­gard­less of the content, to the early days of re­al­ity show Big Brother and its at­ten­tion-seek­ing con­tes­tants. “That pre-dates so­cial me­dia,” he ar­gues. “So­cial me­dia just am­pli­fies it. We have seen it ac­cel­er­ate] in the last 10 years with Si­mon Cow­ell and Sir Alan Sugar. ‘They’re just say­ing it how it is – good for them!’ You fuck­ing cunts. It’s not a good ap­proach.” The UK and the US may be po­lit­i­cally mired in the mo­ment and not have enough dis­tance and per­spec­tive to make sense of things yet. Every­thing Every­thing know they don’t have the an­swers, but they do have the sound­track to this tor­por of un­cer­tainty.


In The Stu­dio

It’s all good: Every­thing Every­thing (from left) Alex Robertshaw, Michael Spear­man, Jeremy Pritchard and Jonathan Higgs, Manch­ester, 2017.

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