MUSIC – New album Arc is a triumph for Everything Everything

FEW rock band frontmen are known for their lack of confidence.

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Jonathan Higgs, Jeremy Pritchard, Michael Spearman and Alex Robertshaw are a band with, well, Everything Everything
Jonathan Higgs, Jeremy Pritchard, Michael Spearman and Alex Robertshaw are a band with, well, Everything Everything

But Everything Everything singer Jonathan Higgs admits he's had to come out of his shell for the band's second album.

The Manchester quartet was known for clever wordplay, complex rhythms and varied tunes when they first appeared, and Jonathan feels it was an attempt to not let people get too close to his feelings.

"I tried to disguise things with wordplay and puns. That was the kind of person I was," he explains.

"I thought that as I fronted the band I needed to speak in riddles and hope no-one could work it out. But now I feel I can talk more about what I believe in, and do that more easily.

"I've changed as a person and being a writer and a frontman, it's as if there's a spotlight on you or a magnifying glass, but it's taken a lot of time for me to have that confidence, to get used to that."

The results can be heard on Arc, the four-piece's recently released second record, which they will bring to Oran Mor next Wednesday.

When they first appeared the group spoke of wanting to avoid clichés, while citing acts as diverse as Nirvana and Destiny's Child as influences, and dressing in boiler suits for live gigs.

That resulted in Man Alive, an excitable debut that jumped from style to style.

WITH Arc the band have reined things in, opting for a more focused approach, but one that is rich in classic, catchy guitar-pop.

"When you make a debut album I think people think you made it in the last two years whereas the reality is you start to make it when you first start the band," reflects Jonathan.

"So there are bits on Man Alive from when we were about 16, and obviously that can affect it, and this record is a lot less distracting.

"With the first one I was trying to hide myself among it, and not let people get close to what I was trying to say, it was like a fear of rejection.

"We have got a lot more confident with the second record, you can see what I'm talking about and musically we're much more satisfied to just stay in one place rather than jumping around all the time trying to surprise people."

They have also picked up some tricks from touring with two of the world's biggest bands. Last year saw them hit the road with Snow Patrol then Muse, playing huge arenas.

Jonathan says: "It was a good opportunity to play new songs to people who didn't expect anything from us, as they didn't know us.

"Playing those venues was like going on another world, but it's good to know what it's like at the other end of the scale. You learn a lot about stagecraft.

"Muse and Snow Patrol were really nice guys. With that kind of touring it's normally a show then a day off, so it's laid back. It's a nice atmosphere."

You imagine that sort of atmosphere probably helps Everything Everything, given that they appear to worry.

They are also self-confessed musos, which meant they were instantly called an "intellectual" band as soon as they arrived on the scene.

It's a term that Jonathan doesn't have much time for.

"You can't complain about being called intellectual, it's just not relevant," he argues.

"How clever is Elvis, what does that have to do with anything? If it's good music then it's good, and whether we're intellectuals or morons shouldn't have anything to do with it. I don't particularly like the term but what can you do?"

They've switched their outfits too – the boiler suits are no more.

"We've been promoted, I suppose is a way of looking at it," explains the singer. "We've got suits on for gigs now – we'll be generals soon at this rate."

YET the biggest change seems to the band being more relaxed. It's a change that would seem to be working.

"I coined Overthink Overthink as an alternative name for us once," says Jonathan. "We're all cynical and are trying to be more relaxed about things and not over think it, if this is a good song then let's not ruin it.

"I suppose that cynicism can then get into all areas of your life, and that's not good, so we want less of that."

l Everything Everything, Oran Mor, Wednesday, £14, 7pm. For tickets, visit gigsinscotland.com

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