The fourth album from Manchester indie/art-pop band Everything Everything provides us with an 11 track long insight into their take on the modern world, capturing the zeitgeist of anxiety, weariness and dread that 2017 holds to many.
Throughout their career the band have consistently been known to comment on the more dismal aspects and issues of modern society in their lyrics, but never quite as upfront as this. Tracks such as “Big Game” and “Run The Numbers” seem to be clear nods towards everyone’s not-so-favourite President of the United States, with lyrics mocking his “wrinkled little boxing gloves” and describing him as “God for a clown and a clown for a pig”, the whining vocals and layered, echoing instrumentals can’t quite mask the songs frustrated undertones. “Run The Numbers” openly provides a similar frustration, potentially the heaviest track on the album, moving away from the 80s pop sounding synthesizer beats with its bass heavy chorus, not dissimilar to that of a Royal Blood track; a real standout track among the rest and definitely a personal favourite of mine.
The opener, “Night of the Long Knives” proves to be another standout track, setting listeners up with excitement for what follows (although it’s debatable as to whether the rest of the tracks, although good, live up to the expectations provided). The name alone is referential to an event in the Nazi state, and it’s anthemic nature gives it a dramatic, almost apocalyptic feel with the flippant “shame about your neighbourhood” brushing off imagery of bombs and war; perhaps a comment on the disengagement between those in power and those suffering. The twinkling synths coupled with prowling guitars gives a live edge that a lot of the album lacks, and it’s almost definite that this will be a fan favourite in their upcoming tour.
Lead single “Can’t Do” will easily be another crowd pleaser, labeled one of Annie Mac’s “Hottest Records in the World” back in June, it’s infectious chorus and funky beat are reminiscent of exactly why Everything Everything have stuck around for so long, with 2017 being their 10th birthday as a band. Unfortunately, the same can’t quite be said for tracks like “Desire”, although just as catchy; the dystopian sounding track seems as if it would be more at home on a Muse album rather than with frontman Higgs and co.
The album seems to shift in the latter half, with tracks such as “Put Me Together” and title track “A Fever Dream” sounding hazier, showcasing less of the band’s frustration with the modern world and its downfalls, instead giving us melancholic, defeated tones. Furthermore, these tracks are the longest two on the album, “A Fever Dream” particularly fitting to it’s title, as both tracks are far less energetic, but nonetheless beautifully atmospheric. “Ivory Tower” follows, with its lyrics addressing issues such as blackface, neckbeards and controversial links to the murder of Joanne Cox. It’s analytically one of the most interesting tracks to unpick on the album; depicting the toxic nature of our internet based society today, these words working alongside it’s drilling, repetitive instrumentals, most notably it’s fast paced drum beat running through the length of the track.
Although as a whole the album doesn’t prove itself to be anything spectacular, it’s definitely more than enjoyable, despite a fair few of the tracks not particularly capturing an interest. Lyrically it proves the band to be every bit as intellectual as they’ve always presented themselves to be; poetically expressing cryptic sociopolitical commentary whilst still feeling vulnerable and emotionally open at point, something many of their sibling bands seem to sometimes lack. At it’s best A Fever Dream takes the emotions of a great majority of the nation, and couples them with glimmering, intricately layered melodies, crafting something gratifying out of what’s generally considered just plain dire.
Words by Alice Browne.