Though there’s a lot more to the charm of Rad Horror’s “Everybody But Myself” than what the lead vocal is injecting into the track and its music video this fall, there’s simply no getting around the fact that the voice holding up the melody in its verses is absolutely one of the more memorable elements it has to share with the world. There are no shortage of examples I could point to within the context of contemporary alternative pop/rock in which lyrical substance was at the forefront of a narrative’s design; the biggest difference in “Everybody But Myself” is with regards to the rather avant-garde stylization of its words. Neither framing the harmony nor acting as the sharpest exponent of emotionality, they’re just one of the many features making this single a chills-inducing number from start to finish.
Aside from the singing here, there’s a great sonic depth to the master mix in “Everybody But Myself” that caught my attention as a music critic right out of the gate. We’re never having to split our attention between two components at the same time; whether it be a harmony or the rigid percussive construct that sits beneath it, everything has its own place in the song and never tramples upon anything beside it. Rad Horror come off as incredibly meticulous songwriters and producers in this release, but not to such an extent that their creative skillsets get lost in translation — there’s still some muscle flexing to be heard in this single, albeit a more refined strain for sure.
Despite the submetallic punch of the backend, “Everybody But Myself” is very tonally polished and doesn’t need a lot of tinny treble on its vocal or guitar parts to balance out the darkness in the main groove. The aural weight distribution centers on our singer and breaks down from there, spinning out as the percussion blends into the bassline and forcing us to feel the beat as much as we actually listen to it. It could have been a little less complex, but in the same breath, I understand why Rad Horror would want to do something a little different than what the critics — and their competitors in the American underground — would have been anticipating for a release like this one.
The mainstream music market might be dropping the ball for a lot of alternative pop/rock’s most devoted of fans in 2020, but among indie players like those in Rad Horror, their scenes have never felt so alive with vitality, competition and increasing talent. “Everybody But Myself” isn’t a game-changer in the way of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but if it’s at all indicative of what Rad Horror are starting to become as a unit, I think they’re going to face a crossroads in their career quite soon. The spotlight is thirsty for a group that wants to push the boundaries a little more than usual, and this band could be — in that regard — just what the doctor ordered this year.