Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
A Fever Dream is perhaps Everything Everything’s most pointedly political album to date
'We didn’t think that it would happen and we never will,' cries Jonathan Higgs on Ivory Tower, the most on-the-nose song on perhaps Everything Everything’s most pointedly political album to date. We find our Manchester futurists trapped in the present, living out our terrifying modern-day futures – an era where The Handmaid’s Tale is more documentary than drama, where Brexit looms and every attempted step forwards is met with grazed knees on the loose scree of divisive rhetoric.
A Fever Dream is aptly named; this contemporary unreality feels like a diseased, intoxicated reverie, one we hope is ending soon while we anaesthetise ourselves with obstinate denial. Intrinsically critical, the album delivers the band’s message via their consistently experimental approach to genre, striving for uniqueness in an oversubscribed marketplace. Rock‘n’roll at times (Run the Numbers), and ambient piano pop at others (Good Shot, Good Soldier, Put Me Together), A Fever Dream explores a broad, though familiar, aural space.
Close second on the political scale is opening track Night of the Long Knives (a spring-loaded boxing glove of a segue from Get to Heaven), whose title likens recent world-stage surges of right-wing ideologies to the notorious purge of political opponents to the Nazi regime. Musically, it rockets along, strapping Higgs’ distinctive falsetto to the nose of a rapid bassline and cocksure, offbeat synth hits.
The leap from early records Arc and Man Alive to 2015’s remarkable Get to Heaven does, however, dwarf that of the step to Fever Dream, whose vibrant artistry offers comparatively less novelty. And in the minesweeping of stylistic variation they’ve even ended up accidentally sounding like post-Absolution Muse on the harmonies-rich Desire. Despite this, there is still a wealth of texture and musical brio on offer here, framing the restrained development as a narrowing of the laser rather than a sign Everything Everything are hitting their limits.
Listen to: Night of the Long Knives, Run the Numbers, Ivory Tower