Everything Everything — A Deeper Sea
February 27, 2018
Manchester, UK / RCA Records
Everything Everything are a British alternative rock band, and—to put it bluntly—my favourite band of all time.
Since 2010, Everything Everything have put out four albums that I find to be varying degrees of amazing. I love how the group take the fundamentals from every facet of pop music and implode them to create these complex, artful pieces that still retain their accessibility and groove-ability. What makes this songwriting all the more compelling, however, are the powerful lyrics delivered by feeble falsettos from frontman Jonathan Higgs.
Last year, the band released their fourth full length album, A Fever Dream, which (to the surprise of nobody who has ever met me) I named as my favourite album of 2017. Pulling back from the extroverted pop apocalypse that was detailed on 2015’s Get to Heaven, this album saw Everything Everything take an introspective look at the aftermath of global news and human conditioning. It’s the sobering night that falls after the summertime vibes of Get to Heaven, but by no means is it less potent.
Following on from A Fever Dream 6 months later, Everything Everything released this EP after a surprise announcement 2 days prior. This 33-second video got me out of my seat; mainly because I have thalassophobia, but the prospect of a new project from my favourite band is exciting, too.
Before LP4 had dropped, the band mentioned in a Reddit AMA thread—don’t tell me that I don’t do my research—that there would be no deluxe edition unlike with the previous two records, for a reason “which will be revealed eventually.” At the risk of getting ahead of myself, I can only assume that A Deeper Sea is at least part of that reason.
This EP was released in celebration of the band’s upcoming UK tour, and graces fans with four cuts. Two of these are unreleased tracks, one is a remix, and the last is a Neil Young cover that they had performed live on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show last July.
Maybe I was a little disappointed that there would only be two brand new songs, but it’s not like Everything Everything owes me anything at this point. Really, my biggest complaint about A Deeper Sea is the promotion that preceded it, for leading me to believe that it would be a deep dive into the inner workings of A Fever Dream, featuring the would-be-B-sides discarded from the album.
To that end, the last two tracks on the EP do very little for me. Tom Vek’s remix of “Ivory Tower” goes the way of most every other EE remix I’ve heard, maintaining a steady backing beat that lacks the propulsive energy of the original track.
The cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” is a pretty fiery and uplifting finish to the track listing, featuring some chugging guitars and an especially passionate vocal performance from Jon that demonstrates the group’s love for this song.
Even though A Deeper Sea is middling for me as a cohesive EP, that’s not to say that it has no merit whatsoever. The fresh cuts here are as high quality as one can expect from an Everything Everything release, and do live up to the thalassic theme.
Opening cut “The Mariana” comes in the form of a chilling piano ballad, complete with a pulsating beat and shimmering production that sound like the track really was recorded at the bottom of the ocean. What really keeps it anchored down to the abyss are the chilling lyrics. Jon sings on this song about the frailty of masculinity, and the unspoken epidemic of male suicide. “The Mariana” is earnest in its vulnerability, ending with a dwindling beckon: “You have to be, or not to be, the man.” You have to relinquish your masculinity. You have to speak up.
The ice was forming all around me
The plants were climbing me for light
I fell into the Mariana
I was a mirror for the night
“Breadwinner” is a remnant from the A Fever Dream cutting room floor, but it hits as heavy as some of the band’s more cathartic moments on Get to Heaven. The goose-stepping percussion in the verse trades off with warbling guitar riffs and an ardent “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” refrain that, facile as it is, is definitely an apt response to the current state of affairs.
In classic Everything Everything fashion, “Breadwinner” revels in entertaining the wrong side of the ideological gamut. All of this news about atrocities has left us so numb that we’re unwilling to do anything while the flat-Earthers and the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are able to emerge from the woodwork and make matters worse.
One flat Earth, they were right, they were right
Hold my feet to the fire, to the fire (yeah!)
Hard liquor is my medicine, it musta happened when I hit my head
Hard liquor for my birthday cake
Power power power power power
Maybe it’s petty of me to dredge this review with my takes on the EP as a whole, as it does come across more like a glorified 7″ tracklist than anything else. And like I said, I don’t feel like I’m owed anything by this band, especially just before a nationwide tour and between studio sessions.
I can’t call A Deeper Sea a disappointment, because that implies I was anticipating it in the first place. Besides, I wouldn’t be opposed to releases like this in the future if Everything Everything are holding onto more of these tracks. In the event that this does happen again, I’ll try to curb my obsessive fandom and just accept a gift horse when we get one.
Anyway, see you in Bristol next Monday, lads. Please play “Warm Healer”.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: The Mariana / Breadwinner