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!

 

  • Doris Montgomery

    sometimes the guitar on this sounds like weezer

    • Cooolin

      i like beverly hills

  • Zeno

    Great album indeed! Very solid with not a bad song on it, but thr highs are not as high as on Get To Heaven for me (blame No Reptiles for that). Get To Heaven was one of my top 5 albums of it’s release year, only lacking some punch in the middle section, the outro of The Wheel and Fortune 500 always ruined the album flow imo. I used to replace Fortune 500 with Kemosabe in my playlist.

    Also wanna say a late thank you for the great Sheer Mag write up some time ago. Made me dive into that absolutely great album!

    • Cooolin

      Could not agree with you more on No Reptiles, that track is untouchable. I actually like the way the album goes from relatively smooth The Wheel into the urgency of Fortune 500, but I can also see it being a little jarring. As for A Fever Dream, the sequencing is excellent, but nothing about it screams “this is a classic!” like Heaven. (Good Shot, Good Soldier, though … that’s a stunner)

      And so glad my review turned you onto that album! Sheer Mag just rocks.

      • Zeno

        Good Shot, Good Soldier is definitly up there with their best material. Agree on the great sequencing, the Arc of this album is just incredible. I’m already hyped (or should i say buzzed?) for their next effort

  • DFrye

    Love Get To Heaven thanks to (you need) Cooolin. Gotta get on this.