Everything Everything A Fever Dream CD

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Everything Everything A Fever Dream CD. Audio Mixer: Cenzo Townshend.
Recording information: Alex's House (1992); Angelic, Halse (1992); Crotch International (1992); Making Do (1992); Manchester (1992); Parr Street, Liverpool (1992); Snap, London (1992); The Chapel of Weelington College (1992).
Photographer: Paul Bull.
After taking on topics like contemporary media, technology, politics, and world events on 2015's Get to Heaven, art-rockers Everything Everything continue in kind, addressing escalating instability on their fourth album, A Fever Dream. Released in August 2017, it doesn't shy away from politics but doesn't name names, either, instead mixing the absurdity and anxiety of the Zeitgeist with themes of dreams and nightmares, and sleep and wakefulness. On the musical side, songwriters Jonathan Higgs and Alex Robertshaw reported reconnecting with what got them excited about music early in their careers, whether it be experimenting with electronics or a more impulsive guitar sound. The two worked together on every track here for the first time, and the results are confrontational right from the start with the striking dance-rock of "Night of the Long Knives." Lyrics like "There's a car overturned and it isn't stopping anytime soon" and the chorus' "It's a real big shame about your neighborhood" are accompanied by needling, staccato sixteenth notes that move between instruments, as well as driving drums, funky basslines, and sporadic siren-like synths. Catchy and unsettling turn out to be unifying forces on the album. Elsewhere, "Put Me Together" opens with restrained electronic drums, humming keys, and voice samples that sound as if played in reverse. Melodic guitar and Higgs' spacy falsetto enter as the song steadily builds into a cacophonous mix of electronic noise, guitar, improvised drums, and the repeated wail "I've been sleeping," before it again cycles through relative quiet and swirling noise. The more melancholy and ultimately dance-inducing title track goes through similar transformations ("The fear and the fury/Make me feel good"). Though the record includes improvised elements, the songs are a little more predictable, at least in terms of structure, than past albums. They still rattle, croon, and rollick in off-kilter fashion, though, like a steampunk dystopia where everything, even an ostensible ballad, is danceable and has an electric guitar solo. Altogether, A Fever Dream is confrontational, warped, emotionally and aurally high-contrast, and full of turmoil, but reliable in its infectiousness. ~ Marcy Donelson


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