Everything Everything's 2010 debut, Man Alive, was dizzyingly ambitious – at times, too much so – with any given song seemingly containing more ideas than Stereophonics have mustered in their entire career to date. The follow-up starts in similar fashion, with recent single Cough Cough and Kemosabe both featuring kernels of pop gold beneath layer after layer of complexity. The second half of Arc, however, finds them on less challenging form, although with no hint of them reining in their intelligence. The sublime Undrowned and The House is Dust could easily slip unnoticed on to Radiohead's In Rainbows, while Radiant sounds like it has one eye on the nation's arenas. Another tour de force.
Phil Mongredien works on the Guardian's opinion desk. He also reviews albums for Q magazine