Everything Everything, Get to Heaven - album review: fussy, over-egged hyper-pop

It’s hard not to feel that Everything are trying too hard

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If fidgety UK art-rock frontliners Everything Everything and Alt-J ever united for a jam, you could imagine the results unfolding like that bit in Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker’s superb 2005 satire Nathan Barley when the titular media pillock and his idol Dan Ashcroft order coffee together. As Ashcroft orders knowingly ridiculous extras (“Can I have some scrambled egg in there, please … and some smoked salmon …”), Barley copies him like a fool, looking absurdly pleased with himself and his indigestible concoction.

Everything Everything aren’t quite that silly, but their fussy hyper-pop is over-egged on this, their third album. Although their go-for-broke approach furnishes ideas to spare, the unwitting effect is a set of lurches from impressive to hopelessly ill-integrated, often over the course of a single song.

“To the Blade” and “Distant Past” bustle with funk bass, widdly prog guitars and rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness accounts of vague modern anxieties, but they also sound like some odd hybrid of Noah and the Whale and the Red Hot Chili Peppers; blustery yet bloodless and unwieldy.

Throughout Get to Heaven, Jonathan Higgs’s voice veers between energetically chivvying and ingratiating, like he’s trying to force something down your gullet against fierce resistance. The lyrics won’t change your gullet’s stance, either: “It’s all right to feel like a fat child in a pushchair, old enough to run” is one over-written absurdity among many.

And if it’s hard not to feel that Everything are trying too hard, relatively restrained exceptions such as “Get to Heaven” and “Regret” only prove the general rule. Next time, hold the smoked salmon.