It’s no secret that Manchester quartet Everything Everything are somewhat of an acquired taste. Whether it’s their propensity for unconventional hooks or their angular, octave-shifting approach to guitar, the band are often far too niche to be properly categorised. Too arty for pop and too poppy for rock, the music of Everything Everything requires patience and a greater understanding of what they’re looking to achieve. In spite of their outsider nature, the band has nevertheless managed to find a relative amount of success, bubbling under the mainstream and occasionally infiltrating it.
We’ve now arrived at album number four for the group, entitled A Fever Dream. It’s an album that sports all the calling cards of its predecessors — vocalist Jonathan Biggs’ unrivalled tenor yelp, drummer Michael Spearman’s inherently danceable kick-snare shuffle — and once again makes a plethora of weird shapes with them.
Perhaps the key difference this time, however, is the greater focus on synthesizer and the more electronic elements of the band’s sound. Such developments are present in the dizzying dark raver ‘Can’t Do’, which itself is followed by the gurgling, vocoder-laden ‘Desire’. By the same token, this also plays into the more ambient side of the band’s music — see the atmospheric closer of ‘White Whale’, or the delicate flutter of ‘Put Me Together’. They remain as explorative and inquisitive as ever, insofar as being a collective is concerned. Even when each member is seemingly miles away, exploring the farther reaches of their respective fields, all roads lead back to their united front.
Of course, appreciating the music of Everything Everything comes hand in hand with acknowledging the fact that their music is unequivicolly a sometimes food. As fun as a lot of the songs on A Fever Dream can be — the head-spinning spiral of ‘Big Game’, the post-punk flavoured ‘Ivory Tower’ — they’re also not designed for repeat listens. Furthermore, they don’t collectively match up to 2013’s Arc, the band’s breakthrough LP whose shadow is still cast long upon everything they’ve done since.
If you’ve found yourself annoyed by the band in the past, it’s absolutely worth mentioning that A Fever Dream will do nothing to change that. They are absolutely set in their ways, and, depending on how you’ve taken them in the past, this will either serve as A Fever Dream‘s greatest strength or its biggest weakness.
Then again, let’s also not forget that Everything Everything are not the type of band that would ever want to change their ways for anybody. Theirs is not an endgame of commercial gain or corporate accolade, but of artistic integrity. For that alone, they deserve plenty of credit. If A Fever Dream showcases anything, though, it’s the fact there’s far more to the band than a quote-unquote ‘weird’ singer. In the right place at the right time, they’re something special.
‘A Fever Dream’ is out now.