[4] Everything Everything, ‘Cough Cough’


You can understand why Everything Everything get up a few noses. Jonathan Higgs’ swooping – unexpected, unpredictable, frequently falsetto – vocals, the tricksy time signatures, the nonsensical name (from Underworld’s ‘Cowgirl’, right?), the boilersuits, the spelling (‘My Kz Ur Bf’), the faces, the rainforests, the civil wars, the dearth, the surplus, the rapacious zeal of the banking system, the government, the abundance of channels but nothing worth watching.

Good though, aren’t they? If anything, ‘Cough Cough’ is a softening of the EE proposition but it’s still as jerky – in tempo, in vocal delivery – as any of their greatest nose-getting-up moments and is nothing like any conventional pop you’re familiar with. Even so, it has a proper chorus of peaks and higher peaks, an ideas-crammed compactness and the exuberant pride of the daft.

Inevitably it’s greeted with a lot of forced coughing around here, which makes a change from the involuntary torrent of the last couple of weeks, and Junior seems to know swathes of the rabbiting lyrics. She doesn’t even look annoyed.

[20] LCD Soundsystem, ‘Bye Bye Bayou’

IT STRUCK ME that 2009 wasn’t a sparkling year for singles – until I started trying to compile a Top 20. Then it was heartbreaking. So, regret and recriminations to Eels’ ‘That Look You Give That Guy’, Saint Etienne’s ‘Method Of Modern Love’ and Fuck Buttons’ ‘Surf Solar’. It hurt, but you had to go.

Let’s cheer up with the long-(well a couple of years at least)-awaited return of James Murphy and his so hip they’re actually hip and not just what hip people think is hip quasi-band LCD Soundsystem. Here he turns Suicide’s Alan Vega’s psychotic rockabilly screecher ‘Bye Bye Bayou’ into – let’s face it – Underworld’s ‘Mmm Skyscraper I Love You’ and the results are absorbing, bracing and head-nodding.

Junior was all primed for the year-end countdown, holding out for some Girls Aloud and sharpening her critical faculties (these are usually her shoulders; they’re the litmus test). The title amused – she and her sister changed it to “bye-bye, you” with plenty of waving – but then the bombshell: “I don’t like it”. Oh. Murphy rescued it with a zappy sound effect at the end which “makes my ears go crazy. And my legs. And my socks.” If he can crazify socks, he’ll go far.

Is that all right Bayou?

[3] Underworld, ‘Cowgirl’

“Everything everything everything everything everything everything everything everything…”

Now we’ve got that looping around your head, you’re ready to big fish, little fish, cardboard box. Junior was, anyway. Who knew that rave shapes were instinctive? She’s pushing clouds, jabbing elbows, funky-worming; in short, everything (everything) except wearing a boiler suit and making a pilled-up “o” with her mouth. Which is a relief.

15 years on, Dubnobasswithmyheadman is still a scorching good album. It should feel dated, but somehow – my old hobbyhorse again – it’s the dance scene that’s moved backwards, while this keeps step with the vanguard. It’s not rave, no, but it’s the more cultured big brother that came along to see what all the fuss was about. Bit like me at the gay quiz night at that pub in Bushey Heath, only less awkward.