Everything Everything have quite possibly the most all-encompassing name since punk-rockers All formed after the Descendents broke up in 1987.
One of my favourite things about Everything Everything, and by extension, this song, is their uncanny ability to make their music sound so busy and convoluted, yet so simple at the same time. Throughout most of their music, but most apparent in ‘Distant Past’, the group includes so many different and precise pieces of instrumentation that one would assume their live shows would be an absolute nightmare if the slightest mistake was made.
Their fastidiousness and attention to detail pays off though, because their music sounds so cultured and intricate that it almost feels as if you’re witnessing a jigsaw being pieced together in front of you at high speed. With fast-paced lyrics delivered with pinpoint precision, and dizzyingly accurate drums and synths, the group’s music is almost closer to a visual medium than an aural one.
While the overarching theme of ‘Distant Past’ is all about evolution and asks the question about whether or not we should’ve evolved into where we are today, considering the state of the world. Despite the relatively simple theme of the track, the lyrics are well-written and reference numerous historical items, such as Julius Caesar’s army’s crossing of the Rubicon river, as well as a campaign slogan used by US President Herbert Hoover in 1928.
“Two thumbs, I cross the Rubicon, slack-jawed, but you’ll never be passing it on. Plug hole, down the drain you go, your body never made it past the snow. Canine fangs up out my throat, you’re bleeding over Eden like a goat. Tall blade, a Triffid in every field, I’m blooming like a fuming human shield.”
While definitely exhibiting themes of fear and paranoia throughout the track as well, it also serves as a pretty good radio hit to listen to without context, something that the most intricately written songs usually lack.