I always thought of Everything Everything as a forward thinking band, but with their last album ‘Get To Heaven‘ they pushed harder than before and the results were beyond stunning. Heads were turned, big venues were packed out and finally Everything Everything became the flamboyant art-rock band that they’d been threatening to be. It would be fair to say there are some pretty big shoes that need filling for this new opus. But, having fallen head over heels with every record this band have delivered thus far, I have no doubt that this fourth LP will see our heroes pushing further into bigger and bolder territories.
‘A Fever Dream‘ picks up where Get To Heaven left off, full to the brim with huge, sprawling pop melodies wrapped up in expansive sonic blankets. ‘Night Of The Long Knives‘, ‘Can’t Do‘ and ‘Desire‘ are an adrenaline pumping opening hat-trick of gold. Each chorus is hefty yet swaggering with the verses driving home that rhythmical force EE have had nailed since day one.
From then on, it’s all about diving into a vast ocean of sound and melody. Everything Everything have always made eclectic records, but A Fever Dream is perhaps their most diverse set so far. There is certainly more of a focus on guitars here, with tracks like ‘Ivory Tower‘ and ‘Run The Numbers‘ boasting some pretty beefy riffage, especially in the chorus of the latter; it’s proper stink face stuff! In places, the band go back to the sound of their first album with lots of this lovely, groovy guitar/bass interplay going on throughout the tracks here. It’s a nice little nod to their earlier material and works well with their journey into making huge pop music.
Although I’m all about the groovy pop jems, it’s when EE dig a little deeper that they really shine here. The title track is one of the most perfect pieces the band have put together, beginning as a heartfelt piano ballad before transforming into this shimmering electronica track that sweeps you away and takes you into a whole new realm. A Fever Dream is all about building these luscious layers of synths and guitars to send you into another stratosphere. ‘Good Shot, Good Soldier‘ is a beautifully uplifting moment, with front man Jonathan’s vocals sounding at their most pure and angelic.
Lyrically, this strikes me as Jonathan trying to find himself among the chaos that surrounds him. ‘New Deep‘ is a dark yet atmospheric soundscape that is instrumental until its final seconds when he bewilderingly croons “Is there something wrong with all of us or is there something wrong with me?” It’s a moment that comes as a bit of a curve ball on first listen, but it makes you listen to the album again with a different perspective. These songs are all dressed up so smart but there lies an ambiguous bleakness within the lyrics that are designed to make you think about the state our world is currently in. That’s the genius of this band, there are many layers to peel and A Fever Dream is their most multi-skinned tapestry.
At the heart of A Fever Dream lies a fully beating and perfectly healthy pop record, but it’s the little twists and turns in its production and structures that turns it into this incredibly intelligent and encompassing piece of artistry. It sees Everything Everything at their most instant and hard hitting, but is full of beauty and space which makes for their boldest statement as a band to date.