Rising indie rock band Everything but the Everything’s songs all seem to be ethical questions, wrapped up in deceptively materialistic lyrics and Generation Me-styled guitar riffs, drum rolls, and pounding melodies on a 90s-style keyboard or, God forbid, grand piano. Yet the music works, and a key component to its working is the depth involved – not just intellectual or emotional, but musical as well. There’s a sense of timing and tone, strength but not excess that makes the band not another garage band on YouTube but a confident, assured musical voice that is paving its own way along the indie music scenes.
The hierarchal upset caused by Covid-19 has more or less put the value of words and phrases like ‘exclusivity’, ‘competition’, and ‘one in a million’ to bed. Forget lawsuits like Kesha v. Dr. Luke. For once in a blue moon, it’s the artists who are getting to really make the rules. More and more music is being distributed by digital mediums, mediums that notably aren’t loyal to the sway of powerful producers, or the general Hollywood PR marketing machines. A sort of melodic communism is starting to reign, where anyone with the right business smarts, savvy for self-promotion, and raw talent and enthusiasm to show for it actually has a fighting chance amongst the masses.
In the spirit of this revolution, Everything but the Everything shatters all the traditions about what an album, and the subsequently required musical arcs on it should be. For one, this group doesn’t even really have an album. Utilizing Spotify as their core platform, Everything but the Everything’s tactic has been to release much of their music as independent solo singles, in some ways providing a sense of specialty to each track in the process. There isn’t the feeling the group feels indebted to a certain image or state of play, as a result each piece of music feeling complete and unhurried – like for once the artists have given it the tender loving care it deserves. That’s not to say Everything but the Everything’s style is polished, however. It decidedly is not, the tracks aside from their sense of frenzied and kinetic energies deliberately rustic-sounding and probably recorded on the first take.
Such an approach benefits each song’s lyrical content, in many ways all of them exploring some facet of the human condition with appropriately narcissistic, millennial analogies. That’s where the band really shines. The Nicolas Cage-style composition makes the songs fun and off-putting, but it’s the poetic ruminations that really save the day and lift Everything but the Everything, much like the implications of its title, to truly revelatory and fascinating heights. Lines such as I only know what’s inside, it’s a daily fright this fight or You said you’d be home around three, this can’t be all about me. Why am I acting crazy? I just can’t take it now communicate so much in an ingeniously simple way. It’s also noteworthy how once again the band’s strength lies in the Prozac generation’s common terminology and wording of said issues. By looking in, they look out – an inspirational sentiment the band both pays tribute to while simultaneously mocks with a tongue-in-cheek, seemingly self-aware gusto.
All in all Everything but the Everything is one of a handful of indie bands that actually has something to say. The music is fun and catchy and the production values will thrill, but it’s what the band and its associated featured singers actually depict that leaves one with a haunting, if somewhat bad taste in their mouth…
Loren Sperry, posted by Jodi Marxbury