There’s something exciting about grabbing the follow up album of a band after their first effort. You get that fire in your gut that tells you – Is this going to be more of the same? Is this going to fire off in a different direction? Is it going to challenge me? – well ok these are the sorts of questions that fire in my head when I listen to new music. Given that the boys of ASIAN ENVY, after the flat out surprise that was SWEET & VICIOUS, have totally self funded and worked on this new entry EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU) for the better part of a year and a half there was an expectation on them. They’ve done this all themselves, with a few guests and without any support at all. There’s just something so honest, inspiring and ambitious about that, it already clings to EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU) before you press play on your media player.
So I pop the CD in (yes I’m old school, hell if it was on vinyl believe me i’d be ramping the turntable) and press play…
The most immediate impression that I got from this new album is the exuberant confidence that is shining through in Steve Edwards’ and Ross Larkins’ songs. These are one proud gang of 14 tracks that are instantly accessible, extremely radio friendly and destined to be pumping through clubs globally in no time. From the song constructions, where I think Edwards and Larkin have really triumphed, to the unashamed grandiose explorations throughout EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU), the album leaves little doubt that this outfit is hitting form and are at the top of their game. It is a massive leap forward in nearly every aspect from their impressive debut.
There are knowing nods to Depeche Mode, winks at Pet Shop Boys, New Order and the best of Brit club acts and all of these are effortlessly infused with modern electronica stylings. Edwards is taking risks in here, he’s let himself off his creative leash and has really experimented with the songs. There’s operatic voices floating in here, there’s punchy guitars, there’s choral echoes, there’s walls of effects and yet none of it seems jarring, out of place or indigestible – this is all purposeful dance music and it works.
Alongside the songs themselves come the lyrics – yet another massive push forward for the band. There is a cheeky cynicism here, an anarchic cry on vanity and sexuality, an acerbic wit and a brazen theatre in the prose. In turns biting, accusatory, anthemic and delicious – there’s even a subtle carnality to tales being told in EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU).
Then along comes Larkin and his vocal. If you’ve ever seen ASIAN ENVY perform live you’d already know that Ross Larkin has one commanding stage presence and when you are armed with vocal theatric like his you have every right to be. Larkin ranges from the subtle to the bombastic, the aggressive to the seductive without ever feeling forced or fake. He happily swoons and punishes these songs – it’s something you don’t hear in electronica – and it’s so impressive to listen to.
I could rave on and on about how impressed and taken by surprise I am with EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU). It really does tower above the modern electronic music of copy, paste, repeat. It takes risks, it challenges you, it’s a major step forward the band, it’s bold and brash and infectiously listenable. Being that these are Aussie boys and made it all off their own bat it deserves to be heard.
THIS BELONGS ON RADIO, IN CLUBS & ON DANCE FANS PLAYLISTS EVERYWHERE
ASIAN ENVY are destined for BIG BIG THINGS and if EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU) is anything to go by I cant wait to see what they’ll do next.
EVERYONE (EXCEPT YOU) by ASIAN ENVY is out now via the bands STORE here & ITUNES
(Buy it through their store! Support the artist!)