"Eyes Off U" by Everything We Do

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"Eyes Off U" by Everything We Do

Review

When I told you back in February a little about new band Everything We Do, I was keen to try and tease out what member Joe Dolman was achieving through this addition to his well established solo career.

I'd like to think that I went some way towards answering that in my feature, but in any event, one listen to their new single "Eyes Off U" which came out today will give you everything you need to know.

This is so utterly unlike anything I've ever heard from Joe before that it effectively defines this new band as a completely distinct entity in its own right and he's boldly saying to his many fans something along the lines of "so you liked what I've been doing very much? Well, I can do this too".

Of course I've gone far too far into this article without mentioning the other member of Everything We Do" who is Kaity Rae and I beg her pardon for starting with the spotlight on Joe, but as this is a Coventry & Warwickshire music magazine, I hope she'll forgive beginning with the one in the group best known in our area. From this point on, it's about them both.

In fact, the starting point is probably that both, individually & collaboratively, are experienced and skilled professional songwriters. Audiences understandably concentrate upon the performance styles each have hitherto displayed, but this naturally represents a narrower focus of style than their writing. Hence Everything We Do puts into the public domain different types of music which lies within their capability yet which doesn't have quite so obvious a home in their solo careers necessarily.

In fact, as I mentioned last time, the project owes its origins to their desire to find a suitable expression for jointly written songs without limiting the gender of potential performers: so they decided to record & release these themselves, neatly sidestepping the dilemma. That said, presumably they'd be quite happy for anyone reading this to cover the material in question.

These are professional writers with an ear for the original within a more mainstream context and so what you get is very immediate and compelling. I've long waited for the commercial world to catch up with the quality of Joe's work & reward him with a hit (obviously I'm less au fait with Kaity's back catalogue but on the evidence, I'd say much the same applies). This has all the ingredients to do well.

In the knowledge that Joe is singing on "Eyes Off U" it's possible to discern his distinctive voice, but I'd be surprised if presented with the song without that information that even everyone familiar with his previous work would necessarily do so.

The backing is not just more electronic than he's been paired with before, it must be the fastest song of his career (though I note that Kaity's part is slightly the quicker) & the densest mix: you are confronted with a wall of sonic information coming right into your face: it's difficult enough to process the lyrics on first hearing let along figure out the vocal & instrumental elements & how they combine. However what musician would baulk at listeners having to play their song repeatedly?

 Not that the song is simple nor monolithic: it's just tightly packed & frankly insistent with all the parts wrapped into a tight embrace. It's all very contemporary sounding (another factor which encourages me to predict that it could do well) with processed vocals: again complementing Joe's usual approach which veers more towards the "timeless".

The arrangement also vindicates the decision to make the most out of both female & male vocals rather than opting for one or the other: the close mix at times blends them into one, but for most of the song, they sing different parts and indeed lyrics. This latter requires the most replays as with the mix it's not that easy (at least for me) to hear the call & response lyrics which they obviously crafted carefully: but as I say, it obliged me to keep playing it so it works in their favour in the end.

It's not a terribly good idea if you seek commercial success to puzzle your potential audience, so the general gist of personal attraction equating to not being able to remove one's gaze from the object of your attraction/lust is signalled from the title.

With the pestilential rise of AI generated lyrics, it's probably very easy to generate what sounds a bit like a proper song from such a starting point, so Kaity & Joe respond to the challenge by working hard using their experience to produce something beyond a computer's wit or lack of humanity.

Quite apart from the obvious glee on the part of the pair, the energy level of the track is really high: that should get them out on the dancefloor for sure, though of course as with any artists of this calibre, there are subtle internal dynamics to ensure that it's no one dimensional track: dropouts, shifts of pace, volume, instrumentation etc and the number of voices increases as the song progresses to form a peak to finish upon.

By the time you read this, Everything We Do should be basking in the aftermath of successful headline shows at The Louisiana (Bristol) and The Lodge at the Deaf Institute, (Manchester) over the past two evenings and anticipating a third at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham tonight. (Feedback already in from Bristol suggests a triumph).

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