|Everything Everything — A Fever Dream|
Everything Everything — A Fever Dream (18 Aug 2017) ••• Pop explorers Everything Everything have finally discovered their utopia.
••• Genre~hopping, arty indie rock from Manchester that cites influences as diverse as the Beatles and Bowie, R. Kelly, Ezra Pound, and Steve Reich.
Formed: 2007 in Manchester, England
Location: Tynedale, Kent and Guernsey ~~ Manchester, England
Album release: 18 Aug 2017
Record Label: Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited
01. Night of the Long Knives 4:38
02. Can’t Do 3:32
03. Desire 3:26
04. Big Game 3:48
05. Good Shot, Good Soldier 4:51
06. Run the Numbers 3:39
07. Put Me Together 5:33
08. A Fever Dream 5:59
09. Ivory Tower 3:54
10. New Deep 2:27
11. White Whale 4:50
℗ 2017 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited
• Jonathan Higgs — lead vocals, keyboards, laptop, rhythm guitar (2007–present)
• Jeremy Pritchard — bass, keyboards, backing vocals (2007–present)
• Michael Spearman — drums, backing vocals (2007–present)
• Alex Robertshaw — lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (2009–present)
By Jordan Foster / 02 AUGUST 2017, 16:02 BST / Score: 8.5
Everything Everything make barefaced jabs at the modern pillars of power.
→↔★ How Everything Everything - Britain’s most underrated pop band — planned to reinvent after the phenomenal Get To Heaven was always going to intrigue. Not only because their third LP felt like an explosive completion to a trilogy, but because it was inspired by 2014 — a year singer Jonathan Higgs described as “the most violent of our lives”.
→↔★ Fast~forward just three years and, as it turns out, it’s all gotten 10 times worse. What struck Higgs as a peaking plateau of bedlam was only the beginning of the storm; a hung UK parliament descended into a Brexit~crazed tripe, ISIS spilt blood in the band’s Manchester birthplace, and the once~flickering threat of western populism ignited into a blazing fire of nationalism.
→↔★ But delve into EE’s dazed fourth album A Fever Dream, and Higgs’ disbelief regarding what unfolded is soon realised. “We didn’t think that it would happen and we never will / yeah I can think of nothing else but this, but this machine,” he admits during the exhilarating “Ivory Tower” — a hysterical dig at elitist detachment from reality.
→↔★ Lyrically, they’ve never been so overt. Esoteric riddles on debut Man Alive have manifested across four records into barefaced jabs at the modern pillars of power. But don’t be mistaken; A Fever Dream is no archetypal anti~establishment record that, say, Slaves or Cabbage would conjure up. EE offer something deeper than a handful of on~trend ideals. They expose the defective psyche of individual humans. They philosophise the way the news doesn’t.
→↔★ A Fever Dream picks up from where Get to Heaven left off. Lead single “Can’t Do” is “Distant Past”’s house~driven sibling, whilst the euphoric “Night Of The Long Knives” and “Desire” make the transition a smooth one. But the album’s trajectory is different; anyone here for eleven lucid back~to~back pop bangers, in line with its predecessor, may be disappointed.
→↔★ What follows the bewitching title track marks a clear turning point; A Fever Dream soon derails into a delirious nightmare. “New Deep”, for example, is a beatless two~and~a~bit minutes of harrowing, gusty soundscapes. “Is there something wrong with all of this? / Or is there something wrong with me?” Higgs’ lonely voice repeats, like a disillusioned outcast sailing towards the abyss.
→↔★ But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a constant battle between beauty and ugliness throughout, perhaps reflective of societal polarisation. Silky verses are wedged between ugly explosions of beefy guitar riffs on songs such as “Big Game” and “Run the Numbers”. It’s a formula that’s curiously reminiscent of the group’s raw and embryonic pre~debut material, as if the quartet revisited and matured old rarities such as “DNA Dump”.
→↔★ The masterful production, honed by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, Foals), is raw and organic. It’s their most conceptual piece to date, and while it might not be as immediate as the last, its brilliance is revealed with patience.
→↔★ “Good Shot, Good Soldier” embodies this notion. “Do the golf clap, for all the right people,” Higgs cries amidst the breathy “Armourland”~esque synths, before audaciously going a cappella towards its conclusion. Album concluder “White Whale”, a yearning existential struggle, is another slow burner. Ghostly chants of “never tell me that we can’t go further,” see out the final bars, making the 11~track seem like just a mirage of hallucinations.
→↔★ Just as the sophomore Arc was, this feels like a transitional curve towards something even greater. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting and very cohesive addition to an increasingly sprawling back catalogue. It expands an overarching narrative that becomes clearer, angrier, and more relatable with each step.
→↔★ Back in 2010 the band’s “NASA Is On Your Side” tale of “children climbing over fridges in a rush to see the death of the sun” was sensationally fictitious — but now Everything Everything’s apocalyptic fever dream feels ever closer to reality.
About Everything Everything
→↔★ A genre~defying indie rock outfit based in Manchester, Everything Everything formed in late 2007 around the talents of drummer Mike Spearman, vocalist, guitarist, and laptop cowboy Jonathan Higgs, bass player Jerry Pritchard, and guitar player Alex Robershaw, all of whom share (professionally) the last name “Everything.” Beholden to no single formula, Everything Everything are as accessible as R. Kelly and Michael Jackson and as heady as Ezra Pound and Steve Reich, while drawing from a well that runs as deep as the Beatles and Bowie. XL Recordings were alerted to the band’s innovative and off~kilter approach and put out its first single, “Suffragette Suffragette,” on limited 7” vinyl in 2008. After a year of touring, the four~piece released its breakthrough single, “MY, KZ, UR BF,” late in 2009, again as a limited 7”, but this time through London~based indie Young and Lost Club. The quartet then appeared on the longlist of the prominent BBC Sound of 2010 Award and shortly thereafter signed to Geffen Records.
→↔★ Their debut album, Man Alive, appeared in the summer of 2010 and courted critical acclaim for their unpredictable, infectious pop, led by vocalist Higgs’ unmistakable falsetto delivery. The success of the record was capped off with a nomination for the 2011 Mercury Prize alongside a support slot with Snow Patrol on their nationwide arena tour. Two years after their debut, Everything Everything released their first new material in the shape of the single “Cough Cough” during the summer of 2012, while another full~length came in 2013. Entitled Arc, here the band consolidated its frenetic, genre~marauding style with Man Alive producer David Kosten. Lauded by music critics and fans alike, the album reached the Top Five in the U.K. charts, and the band embarked on its first headlining European tour in support of the release. Everything Everything took a break from touring in 2014, making only limited local live appearances, and worked on their third long~player with producer Stuart Price (the Killers, Pet Shop Boys). Led by the danceable singles “Distant Past” and “Regret” in early 2015, the sociopolitically affected Get to Heaven was released in June 2015. The band re~emerged in 2016 with the single “I Believe It Now,” which featured in BT Sport’s Premier League shows. Continuing in the political vein they set forth on Get to Heaven, Everything Everything hinted that their fourth record would be affected by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. ~ James Christopher Monger & Scott Kerr
|Everything Everything — A Fever Dream (18 Aug 2017)|