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Everything Everything might have had their heads and minds turned by an increasingly early critical kiss of death, but instead of whittling down their rampant imagination to wheeze out a neat, glossy three-minute nugget of steaming chart banality, they stole the spirit of Steve Mason, borrowed a few Dirty Projectors and unleashed Jon Higgins to emphatically walk a fine falsetto line to rival Hayden Thorpe’s vocal dramatics. After being ambushed by the rampant ‘Qwerty Finger’, the jittering ‘Schoolin’ showcases the band at their skittish best, but it’s on ‘Tin (The Manhole)’ where Higgins’ pure vocal is allowed to take front and centre. Lingering over a simple, shimmering Four Tet-esque backdrop, it’s a refined moment of clarity amidst the zeal and wild indie twists, and it lends ‘Man Alive’ an enduring elegance that’s as arresting as it is unexpected.

By Reef Younis

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