For a band with the political and satirical edge of Everything Everything, the last two years have given the band a lot of juicy material to work with. But hell, it’s almost been too much. I wouldn’t fault such a creative rock band for saying “fuck it all” and writing tunes about the cosmos or flowers or ladies in nice dresses. They’d probably nail it.
But the band doesn’t retreat, instead attacking the turmoil of our days with biting intellect, wit, and honing in on their brand of disorienting art rock.
2015’s Get To Heaven was a raucous and dense, but still lively and maybe even “fun” if you didn’t bother with the lyrics. However, A Fever Dream embraces the darkness. It’s gloomier and more synthetic. The instrumentation sounds inspired by many a Thom Yorke project, like the groove on “Put Me Together,” which could have been plucked straight from the cutting floor of The Eraser sessions.
But lead man Jonathan Higgs pumps blood and personality into the instrumentation with his loud, British falsetto croon. It ain’t sexy, but what he does with it is remarkable (though if you find it off-putting I wouldn’t blame ya). The bone-chilling title track rides a foreboding piano riff into a chorus, where Higgs chants “Lord I see a fever dream before me know” with a hint of despair before the track descends into glitchy chaos. It’s another masterpiece of songwriting that keeps the audience on the edge of their jimmies. The same goes for “Night of the Long Knives,” which opens the album with an eerie tension before unraveling in a burst of noise as Higgs repeats, “Shame about your neighborhood,” as if announcing the apocalypse’s arrival. (Or maybe gentrification, which for a lot of people is also kinda shitty.)
Get To Heaven is going to be one of my favorite albums of the decade, and you should hear it. But the fact that A Fever Dream comes close is remarkable. It most definitely WORKS!