- 30 Sep 20
We sat down with Jeremy Pritchard to discuss Everything Everything's latest record 'Re-Animator'.
Talking with Jeremy Pritchard, it sounds like Everything Everything might be the only band whose album process was helped by a global pandemic. “It caused us to think differently about our album rollout,” he says, over Zoom (naturally), perched in front of a wall of books.
“We've always worked well inside limitations,” Pritchard continues. “If we've got limitless time and resources, we get bogged down. So, in a way, it was good for us. But the thing it prevented us from doing was getting together and rehearsing the music we'd just finished, and playing live, which is something we sorely miss.”
For reasons that had nothing to do with COVID-19, the band also decided to streamline recording on Re-Animator, which is their fifth studio album. Producer John Congleton took the hyper-efficient route, not even allowing the band the luxury of listening back to takes in the studio. “I found that quite exhilarating and easy,” laughs Pritchard, "but I think Jon (Higgs) found it disorienting.
“I think in the past, we've allowed the time to indulge ourselves – and the sheer volume of ideas, plus our urge for perfectionism – to bring the spontaneity and the emotion out of the music,” he continues. “To not have any time to luxuriate and indulge with those urges caused us to come out with something much warmer. That doesn't come easy for us. We tend to be suspicious of things that happen quickly.”
Re-Animator’s distinct departure from the overwhelming, sonically all-consuming art-pop of the band’s previous albums has given the group something they've been teetering on the edge of for some time: an enduring legacy. It's no longer possible to raise a claim that they are slaves to formula.
“To be on our fifth album and discussing a legacy would have seemed absurd, not that long ago," laughs Pritchard. "But it's something I'm really proud of.”
In truth, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about a raging global pandemic while listening to Re-Animator. The Mancunian quartet did everything in their power to steer clear of politics and current events, instead focusing on human consciousness and the natural world in the sprawling and critically-lauded eleven-track album.
Despite their efforts, it's inevitable that even avoiding those topics has created a different kind of commentary around them.
“I think it's absolutely natural and right to be inspired by the socio-politics of your time, and I think almost every artist has done that,” says Pritchard. “But if you literally call out Brexit, or Boris Johnson, or Trump by name, it's going to root it to this time. It will put a shelf-life on what you do, and make it less applicable to other situations. Most political situations indicate wider cultural trends.”
Living in the information age got boring for singer-songwriter Jonathan Higgs, whose reading of psychologist Julian Jaynes’ bicameral mind theory inspired much of Re-Animator’s lyrical content.
“The subject matter of the album is trying to back away from all that as best it can, only with some success, I think,” Pritchard says. “But it's a deliberate turning away from people's online activity and sociopolitical machinations. All of that stuff really bared down heavily on Get To Heaven and A Fever Dream. Jon just got sick of doing the heavy lifting, and so he wanted to look at the birth of consciousness, the birth of children, the awesome power of the sun.
“Those kinds of things are ancient and universal concepts.” He pauses momentarily, before adding, “We've made our least apocalyptic record at the most apocalyptic time, in a way.”
Critics will say it’s a pretty glaring sign of privilege to be able to disengage from socio-political issues at will, especially when young people today have never had the privilege of indulging in an apathetic mindset, but Re-Animator’s second track, ‘Big Climb’, actually addresses that very thing, displaying a distinct thoughtfulness that surfaces time and again on the record – if one listens carefully.
“The onus was placed by people my age and upwards on twenty-year-olds and younger, to sort out a mess we made,” says Pritchard, shaking his head. “‘We've fucked it, and now you have to deal with it' – the hypocrisy of that is mental.”
Listen to Re-Animator below.