Album Reviews

Night Verses – From the Gallery of Sleep (2018)

Image result for Night Verses From the Gallery of Sleep

                                                Night Verses’ Bandcamp – From the Gallery of Sleep

Back to an instrumental trio Night Verses have released album number three, what is the result of three years is the recording studio? Nothing can be guaranteed but one would be foolish in thinking that it was not going to be technically sound, Herrera, Improta and DePirro yet again display that they are true masters of their respective craft.

Trading Shadows like a lot of this album it is fluid, seamlessly moving from calm still waters to blasting storms, it’s so engaging with many layers to unpack, smooth bass, reverbed guitar, picking up pace and cranking the brilliance up far beyond 11, flying by before you know it is ending. For a song as long as this (6:31) to be so easy to listen to like the best radio hits, only boosts the level of respect the three men garner.

Lira is one of the shorter songs at 3:30 (a radio friendly length, one can hope it gets a wider release and may hit the airways before a 10pm show other than the big rock/metal or alternative shows). It is here as well as on Harmonic Sleep Enginea segment in the fourth instalment to the Phoenix saga were picked acoustic guitar shimmer adding another facet to the ever growing, ever expanding sonic universe Night Verses venture through, the cosmos has always been a theme for the band being present on this album to.

One of the most diverse and interesting tracks on From the Gallery of Sleep is No Moon beginning with Space Race era sounding spoken recordings that are placed at various points on the album (see in the first part of Copper Wasp, the relentless Vice Wave with that top choppy bass playing, hats off to Herrera for the umpteenth time). It ends on a similar ambient backing as it began, but adds vocals akin to those found in an idyllic dream sequences born from the mind of Darren Aronofsky and would be fitting of being played over a scene from Requiem for a Dream (2000) or The Fountain (2006).

Frantic No. 0‘s introduction was one of the snippets released as a tantalising taste for what was to come, it is so compact with lighting quick playing that it demands focus from the listener, if you heard this in pacing it would draw you in, overcome by intrigue in its ferocity. Bolboa then slows everything down again with its digital percussion/ electronic synths (spacey and ethereal whenever used) leading the way, highlighting that the balance of these moments along with pacing of the record is just right, mid-to-late sections swaps from harder tracks with the more reserved ones, mirroring sleeping patterns, some nights you have the soundest of rests others not so much. Furthermore those dreams/nightmares that are the most varied are in turn the most memorable, applying that to this record was risky as it could have come out as a disjointed experience, but with these three behind the controls it is confident and succinct. Never running too long or dwelling on one extravagant part, as this would be both threaten to become tiresome and self indulgent a flaw some instrumental bands run into.

A personal change for me would be to swap the final songs around, and of course give the ending of Infinity Beach to Phoenix IV: Levitation as it carries the habit of having the beginning of the first track on the prior album/extended play becoming the ending of the following release, Out of the Sky’s From the Shadows Where I’m Low’s opening drum beats end Lift Your Existence’s Phoenix 1: Rising II: Falling, Introducing: Rot Under the Sun’s wailing guitar finishes Phoenix III: Into the Vanishing Light (off the album of the same name). I love the fact they do that what a nice little detail. But that is the slightest of gripes for me.

One of the many strong aspects to Night Verses is how all members of the band are heard (credit to producer Will Putney for his part in this album, stellar work), they all get equal footing, they always have, making a complete sound, a representation of the band and not one leading member. All great instrumental music shares this quality including this one.

A universal sign for happiness is someone’s natural smile, one that cannot be helped, avoided or resisted. Anything that can bring one of those smiles is in my opinion special; From the Gallery of Sleep does indeed bring one of those smiles. It is an ever moving harmonic beauty.


Album Reviews

Invisible Inc. – Fine Print (2018)

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The reunion most people are talking back is The Smashing Pumpkins or Tool finally recording their next album (granted that is something to be excited about), but one you may have missed is Invisible Inc‘s made up of Watsky, Adam Vida, Daniel Riera and Max Daniel it is the bands third album since 2001.

The Opposition is a rallying song that centers around the shout of ‘The Opposition’ as you can probably figure out this is politically charged and the state media/news is a central theme. There is a references to the infamous ‘locker room talk’ line from the President that’s well worked without sounding cliche, indirect references like this are a way in which rappers/hip-hop/R&B artists intelligently write their lyrics and if done well allow them to link the lines together, this is done all throughout Fine Print it is a large reason for it being so enjoyably rewarding.

Wow! You Will Love It! and Shady (Interlude) are under a minute and not really needed as the first of those two is just Watsky rapping fast/oddly and an electronic modulator that follows him rising and fall, quickening and slowing when he does, but these are a couple minuscule gripes.

Where the music really pops is a bit on the odd side but highly enjoyable because of it is Safe Spaceshipadmittedly the intro wasn’t my favourite but as the song went on I really started to enjoy the joyous intergalactic voyage that this Safe Spaceship is going on. This is a nice lighter, eccentric, point on the album as a large percentage is politically aimed or points out flaws and troubles of modern life; it just shows that the band can make a very upbeat, free going music.

Backing this up is Battle this, the effectiveness of synth modified vocals plus what some mixing can do. The robotic voice to ‘take this outside’ is real hooky. Plus the fact that Pokemon makes an appearance Battle gets extra points for me.

Those Were the Days is a satirical, stab in the chest to anyone who thinks that modern society is awful by cleverly harping back to,

‘When we had parades
For Thanksgiving, not for gays
Guys like us we had it made (had it made)
Those were the days’


‘Had separate but equal rights, we even had our own toilets,
For colored people and whites ’til Civil Rights came and spoiled it’.

Those Were the Days is a major highlight it is very funny but poignant pointing out that contemporary times are good compared to the times called back to in the lyrics. Adam Vida and Watsky’s chemistry is easy to hear as they are up to and beyond this point on the album, bouncing off one another with ease, the features from Gift of Gab on They Warned Us and Gavlyn features on Don Quixote, both adding their own distinctive flows.

Ragdoll brings to the forefront that this is a band project with it predominantly featuring guitar (The Opposition is the other song with a lead guitar), great drumming which the song is elevated by. It is sort of unfair to single out Ragdoll as the music throughout be it bass, guitar and drums, piano, synths and electronic gizmos is a valuable element to the freshness of Fine Point.

Penultimate song Never Let It Out of My Mind has a very catchy chorus line (plus constant piano melody backs this up) and plan melody that runs under the track for its majority. The words recalls a former friend/someone close who took their life even though they were loved, these feelings are still there with those who knew the person and it will never leave their mind heartfelt lyrics standing out here.

Fine Print is an inventive and engaging album that blends a number of musical styles with some really well written lyrics, some of the bars are venomous jibes at the state of the U.S. and society as a whole, others are dry sarcastic and damn hilarious. This album is a great find certainly worth your time, and has taken a good amount of mine.

Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Everyting Everything – Breadwinner (Single, 2018)

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                                         Hottest Record in the World on Annie Mack (Radio 1 26/2/2018)

‘You’ve gotta be kidding me’! This is an insanely hook riddled track with all parts working their way into your skull at an exhilarating pace. Being the first taste from the teased upcoming E.P. A Deeper Sea, which is most unexpected as the band are still touring the latest album A Fever Dream released back on August 18th 2017 (tour starts on Wednesday 28/2/2018).

It is a crazy assault of fast paced instrumentation from the chaos toned tremolo picked guitar, flickering, swirling keyboards and synths, all elements of the track go up to and beyond level 10. As ever the lyrics are odd, ‘One flat Earth, They were right’ but clever, sharp and sticky especially the chorus with the ‘Power, power, power, power, power into the ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me’ refrain. The bridge claims that the Devil has been seen and here it gets all warped and in my opinion where some of the places on A Fever Dream should have gone. But this song could have been recorded around that time as the theme and feel do fit with the fourth album.

Anyway this is a blast to hear. Now where is that repeat function?


Check 'Em Out, Singles/Songs

Check ‘Em Out: HMLTD – Art for All Senses


                                                                                        HMLTD’s Facebook Page

Once you come across HMLTD you will not be able to shake them.

Picking up from the legends of Post-Punk: Devo, Pere Ubu, Cabaret Voltaire, Gang of Four to name but a few, HMLTD are worthy of carrying their flag because like all of those mentioned prior they push the envelope with all that they do. This is clear once you both listen to them and see the band.

Is This What You Wanted? has a hell of a groove to it with the electronic drum beat, the simple but irresistible guitar and bass lines that gel so effortlessly. In the first couple of lines spoken to us are the words ‘Triggered by your cold diatribe’ this is interesting because when the same opening verse comes back around it turns into a diatribe. With the vocals becoming shouts and anger being directed into the microphone. At the point that the anger comes though the music follows its lead getting tenser and tenser but it then dies down, the guitar and bass are relived of their duties and just the vocals and beat remain. Right until the end when everything speeds up and stops abruptly.

Satan, Louella and I is a little more traditional in its structure but it is no less as dramatic or gripping as Is This What You Wanted? or any other of the tracks listed here. Helped by the choral addition of a few female voices which adds to the creepy vibe of Satan, Louella and I. As it opens with a guitar line that would fit straight into a horror scene where the monster is stalking its prey without the prey realising. But that dissipates into the steady build of energy with blasts of horns, notes of piano, leading into a pulsating mark around 2:26 where the vocals become more driven, with some very nice inflections exclaiming that not everything is clear i.e. ‘Not every church is strong, Not every city’s wrong, No struggle is in vain’  (backed by a vocal melody you would hear in a church choir) these are some powerful statements that points out that some truths, assumptions and institutions are not as concrete as they seem. Adding more depth to the HMLTD’s overall appeal. 

Music! is a somewhat glitchy affair with dark lyrics wanting to travel to the North Sea for a myriad of reasons, the odd lonesome sounding keyboard that plays in the interlude only adds to the oddness. Then it rises again before lulling into a slow abstract glitch to close. You are unable to guess where anything will go and that in itself is a reason to check them out.

To The Door mixes cowboy, wild western guitar and attitude with modern electro theatre. Here the vocals as ever have a sharpness to them delivered with menace, arguably aimed at the vote to leave the European Union, ‘But the streets are lined with Filth, The scum will rise to the top, In glass buildings they throw rocks, So I’m moving to Leipzig’. But that us just my take on it I could be completely misinterpreting it. The unexpected shift in styles slowing the track down but not taking away any of the impact. With To the Door being a top song it also is a great summary of HMLTD.

To say that HMLTD are this genre or that genre would be disrespectful to the band. But what is undeniable is that they are a violent force of creative freedom that is a most welcome revival of Post-Punk striking against the mundane stagnant mainstream.

Album Reviews

Overdue Review: Aldous Harding – Party (2017)

                                       The Amazing and Intense NPR Tiny Desk Performance

Catching Harding’s single Horizon on the ‘What’s in My Bag? episode with Waxahatchee (Katie Crutchfield, who picked this album) & Allison Crutchfield. As Amoeba do play either an audio clip or some of the video, the latter in this case, Harding is in an all black robe with a part that covers her neck, staring down the lens calling my mouse to go find this video. Once I did the sounds matched the enticing snippet. The piano that is allowed to bellow out and breath under the powerful vocal delivery from Harding. Leading to the especially hard hitting moment when you hear the lyric ‘Every now and then I think about the day you’ll die babe’, digs into your chest leaving its mark.

Blend is the most filled out song sonically with the padded percussion being very prominent, giving it the fastest pace on the album making it the catchiest track. Remember though catchy does not mean that it is the more memorable than the others. Also timed perfectly are the deft touches of additional vocals, a couple vibrating electronic notes and the double exhaled breaths to wrap it up give this short opener a lot of elements to like. Blend sets up the album with a strong beginning to the Party you are about to be at for the next 38 minutes and 50 seconds.

Title track Party (Live) is the only number I am not a fan of the vocals are at fault which is the last thing I would have thought I’d dislike. There is the very elongated Y in Party. Plus when she goes high in those moments it turns into a nasally, overlong note. It really does kill the song unfortunately. But it does again show another different voice she is able to produce to the already lengthy list.

The breadth in sound that is on display from one song to another, those punchier ones on Blend or the deep beautiful Imagining my Man, a song that explains the ebbs and flows of love, reality and what you imagine it to be like and their differences. A soft baritone sax really adds an extra level of nuance to this tremendous musing. I’m So Sorry croons along with the spirit of the classic Chett Baker for example. Perfume Genius also contributes vocals on Swell does the Skull another musician I found out about in 2017, he is also a very distinctive singer so his inclusion is gladly welcomed.

Party is an arresting album from one arresting artist, Aldous Harding is full of expression and her range and diverse vocals are undeniably gripping. This is a second album that is intimate and maximises simplicity, beauty and emotion. With every song pointing to a new ability or way this musician can morph her voice into is why Party is one of the most captivating records to come out of 2017.


In Depth

2017’s Love Letter: Everything Everything – Wizard Talkers, A Giddy Baby in a Centrifuge and Mad Eureka Moments

I have found the two and only similarities between me and this tremendous band 1) we both struggle to name things before finalising the title I had 5 to pick from, 2) I jump all around in this article in true Everything Everything fashion, luckily for you that is where the similarities end and Everything Everything do not struggle with creating unparalleled art.

Everything Everyhting began ten years ago and have steadily grown a fan base that gladly keeps growing. Though they formed in the one of the most musically important cities in the UK, Manchester, three of the members actually hail from the county of Northumberland, Jonathan Higgs (lead vocals, keyboard and guitar) grew up in Gilsland while Michael Spearman (drums, vocals) and Alex Niven (guitars, vocals, 2007-2009) are from Newbrough. Bass player Jeremy Pritchard is from Kent and met Higgs whilst they were both studying popular music at Salford University, Guernsey native Alex Robertshaw joined after Niven left in 2009.

On the subject of studying music at University in an interview Higgs(as well as Pritchard presumably) goes into how studying the subject has helped in creating/recording music, it has given him the language and knowledge to communicate with his fellow musicians therefore being able to accurately put across ideas. So the music in his head can be made accurately. Furthermore being thrown together with other students from completely different backgrounds, who have different tastes and play other styles opened up his mind in not only how to make music but destroyed the boundaries that ‘define’ what music should sound like. Once I saw this interview it only added to the admiration I feel towards the band. It helps to explain how their complexity, diversity to their sound and chemistry.

The introduction I had to the foursome came by the way of hearing Cough Cough on my student radio somewhere between late first year and early second. It was and still is to this day one of the biggest impressions a band/song has made on me. I needed to find out all I could about this new sonic experience. Quickly scrambling to the nearest computer opening up the system (which organised/complied the music played on the airwaves) I read it was called Cough Cough by Everything Everything from Arc (2013). There have not been many cases of a band creating as high amount of intrigue just from a single, sonic brilliance, odd title and their name. The same word repeated in both cases how peculiar.

Cough Cough is this energetic, rhythmically pulsating, truly alternative track that is also a super hooky complex number. Coughing is incorporated into the music opening up with rhythmic coughs, who does that and makes it sound awesome? No one else I know. Then there is the rest of the song the earworm, ‘Yeah, *Cough Cough* So *Cough Cough*, Um, *Cough Cough*, Wait a Second’ introduction again unorthodox but all the more enticing because of it (I also love the Ahhs). Verses/pre-chorus is a call and response type of segment, ‘I’m Coming Alive (Coming Alive), I’m Happening Now (Happening Now)’ it also helps that t is backed by one of my favourite keyboard lines ever.

Just like NASA is on Your Side off Man Alive, the slower Choice Mountain and Undrowned highlight the reasons to give all their albums a listen as there are these two gems among the many others that inhabit the vast caves to explore. Choice Mountain is so interesting because the metaphors are showing personal vulnerability and fear of taking a risk, ’I’m leaving my ocean home, I’m trying to leave my ocean, though I know nothing of the swamp’ and having a grasp on who you are as a person, ‘Maybe I’m a Lioness, and when I reach the shore I’ll tear apart Hyenas with no thought’, that sense of the unknowing and uncertainty expressed is something we all go through at one point or another this is a more relatable lyrical topic and this song is overall.

Undrowned is built on a slightly twisted carnival sounding organ sound that the other instruments play around then it morphs and fills up to a fuller ending. Here it also shows the more personal, open approach Higgs took to the album’s lyrics as he wanted to go away from, what he thought some reasons people were attracted to the band in the beginning just because they were strange or super intellectual. He wanted more of an emotional connection, Undrowned ends with ‘Oh, don’t, don’t, don’t leave, don’t leave, don’t leave, don’t leave me (To the walls, to the walls, to the west), don’t leave, don’t let me down’, again reiterating the direction the lyrics went in. Furthermore the amount of singing/syllables was largely reduced as Higgs realised that he didn’t shut up on the first album to protect himself. Putting up a wall to deflect the attention away from him so to be more open this had to change.     

Then there are the 6 bonus tracks included on the Deluxe Edition, some of which should have been included/swapped to be on the standard release. Higgs and Robertshow themselves have even admitted that some of the slower tracks on the original cut should have been replaced by faster, more energetic songs, whether they meant some of the bonus tracks is not known but it would make sense. One that I agree with is the remix of the final song Don’t Try I like the cut that was on the record, but the remix is superb and should have replaced the album version. This is again reinforced by some of the B-Sides to the singles. A personal favourite of mine is Treasure Set which was the B-Side to the brilliant Kemosabe making it one of the best A/B Side duos of 2013, it is in the vein of a trippy, electronic music that repeats multiple sections/phrases there is a minimalist approach to the lyrics with there being very few besides ‘Found another in a treasure set’ and a female’s voice plainly saying ‘Bring me down’. +Pendolino is the only official instrumental track released to date. It could easily fit into a DJ set in any club portraying more of the electronic influences, in this case Robertshaw’s fandom of Aphex Twin coming through Robertshaw is also on the cover of the single, Duet, the A-Side to +Pendolino.

Now like I did after listening to Arc I jumped back and went to the mind shattering debut Man Alive (2010) that isn’t just me saying that it was critically acclaimed and was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2011, which PJ Harvey won for Let England Shake, becoming the only artist to win it twice. So it was a fair loss as PJ Harvey is a legendary artist in her own right. In a recent interview Pritchard said that the first album was great for their career because it was so broad in its musical scope it allowed them to go in whatever direction they wanted. That is the perfect way to describe Man Alive. From the erratic but hooky MY KZ, UR BF (do check out the early demo which is a more R&B take named Airstrike on Your Forehead) to the special gentle Tin (The Manhole) which they performed at the prior mentioned Mercury Prize awards event to highlight that they are able to calm things down and don’t just rely on quick frantic playing/singing. Tin was recorded in a cold, dark terribly lit room which created a cold, intimate memorable listening experience. This breadth in ability in one record is rarely shown nor is it as successfully put together.

The first ever single Suffragette Suffragette put the band on the map with its huge guitar riff of a chorus; yes the riff is the chorus, still not like any other band. Even when Everything Everything does something familiar they put their own spin on it. Pritchard’s bass playing is always on point but the use of the higher end of the four string really pops out as yet another quality you’ll latch onto. Oh plus there is the infamous debated/misheard line of ‘Who’s gunna sit on your Fence when I’m gone? Who’s gunna sit on your fence when I’m not there?’  Or as some argue it is face rather than fence, to clarify it is Fence. Though these lyrics are missing from the booklet included with the CD so that only fuelled the debate.  Another single was Schoolin’ when you hear it you can’t help but go back to your school days with the whistle like synth, taking you back to the rarest of summer days when the sun decided to make an appearance. Even if the song is not actually about being in school with Schoolin’ being  about the human race across it’s time span and all the things we have learnt or have failed to learn. In the bridge through to the end the bass comes to the front with a melody that is rich, Higgs’ vocals copy the melody I do struggle to recall a band doing that at least not this effective or obviously.

Photoshop Handsome has many merits going for it there is the very retro arcade keyboard joined with the gaining of ‘an extra life, when I get the high score’ one that earns a place at a retro-gaming party (if there has ever been one). In the bridge there is a vocal arrangement where the main line is ‘Come back as something organic, or come back as something else’ but the way that the Higgs, Pritchard and Robertshaw perform their individual takes stands out. Higgs says the whole line, Pritchard/Robertshaw sing the word organic but break it up pronouncing each syllable sort as if it is one word itself. Then there is the perfect marriage to the second video which though not technically created by the band it was their idea and a spark of radiant imagination, film a standard video with the band miming out the track in different stances and positions (arms locked together, holding Higgs across their bodies) then splitting it up in to 2 second clips and send it to 50 or so different animators to do with it what they wanted. The result is mind bending oddball surrealism, but not without purpose as the song is about the modern ability/need to alter ones image via the use of technology so hence Photoshop Handsome. Two for Nero is the song that made me go from I don’t like the sound of a harpsichord to (in this case) it isn’t that unbearable. It is the main instrument (other than Higgs’ voice) playing the same cyclic part for around two or so minutes. Another testament to the quality of the produce it always keeps you listening no matter how much or little there is happening.

On Weights the closer for Man Alive they recorded themselves playing a bunch of metal objects: a ladder, big slab of metal and a van (see here) of course it works, this musical philosophy has been applied through their ongoing career (they recorded a toy crossbow firing a dart across the room past some microphones used in Fortune 500¸a few big cat roars on Distant Past as well).  

Get to Heaven (2015) is simply impeccable, from the themes tackled, another shift in style as well as their image, plus it reached more people and grew their audience massively. This was largely because of the conscious effort to make an album that was only composed of upbeat lively recordings, from one of the first studio sessions where they recorded Warm Healer they laid down a marker that everything else would be up tempo and wouldn’t go below Warm Healer. Being men of their word there is no point on Get to Heaven that dips below the point of Warm Healer. Every song has a beat, rhythm, melody an air of danceability. I think that the band where helped in this regard by producer Stuart Price (Madonna, Take That, Kylie Minogue) a change from David Kosten who produced both the previous albums. The elements of pop which have always been in the music of Everything Everything was more obvious on the third album, case and point Distant Past has a huge 90s house keyboard chord progression that helped it to become one of the songs of the summer. Regret was also a big track that took hold of the radio waves with the chanted ‘Regret’ getting lodged in listeners brains, interestingly there was a lot of misreporting about this song as some journalist said that it was about girls going to Syria, the song is centred around a huge theme of the record (and a reason why I hold it in such high regard) what would it take for someone to become a Terrorist? Why do they do it? Quote from the Line of Best Fit Track by Track article (2015) with Higgs, ‘”Regret” is about the importance of the individual, as in one guy’s knife against one guy’s neck becoming global news. The power of that is insane. It’s the most powerful thing you can do on Earth, apart from kill yourself, I suppose’.

These questions are littered all over the album like little clues for you to piece together but one blatant placement is the song Fortune 500 easily one of my favourite songs of all time from the second I heard it because it sounds amazing but the depth the of the lyrics, they not only ask questions but make the listener think, which is something that Higgs is a master at. His approach to writing is to ask the hard, scary questions, go into the darkness of monsters, and look at events from other view points and perspectives. But this is not just him the rest of the band are very interesting and in many interview come across as inquisitive and curious people which comes across in all the albums. Fortune 500 is from the perspective of a person attacking the Queen in her Palace residence, ‘To trepan the Queen and burn the dogs in the hall’, the event that the surrounding songs are reacting to, and the doubt that comes once the attack has been carried out and the hunt to capture the figure begins. Was it worth it? After all lines like, ‘They sing in my ears and make me feel like I’m loved, I don’t want this, I never spoke up enough, Think of the people that I’m doing it for’ along with ‘They said that I should do this for my sons, So is this the lot or should I take out the king?’ show doubt as a recurring theme.         

Jumping back to the song before Fortune 500 is The Wheel (Is Turning Now) centred around the charismatic leaders, men in power (which the stunning cover for Get to Heaven by New Zealand artist Andrew Archer reflects), a little on the rise of UKIP, the avenue of thought that Higgs could be drawn in by something extreme if the circumstances align. A breakdown occurs pre-chorus that sticks out to me as the alternate background vocals stab sharply, ’Bone, to the blade, My letter, white feather, no halves, “Dread,” that’s what the devil said, My prison, my prison, my guard’. Then the breakdown leading to the end asks ‘Do you have any Idea?’ and the last line ends with ‘Ideas’ not Idea. A small change that adds so much to the meaning as it goes from do you have any idea what is going on and the effects your actions are having, to do you have any ideas implying there have been none up to this point and all they say is valueless mumbo jumbo. Zero Pharaoh has possibly my favourite vocal delivery of Higgs’ as it shows his lower registers amongst other things.  Unlike Arc the extra tracks on the deluxe version of Get to Heaven though good (President Heartbeat and Hapsberg Lippp especially) aren’t worthy of replacing any of the final 11 to make the cut, the construction of Get to Heaven really highlights how track listing can enhance an albums presence.

Album number 4, the tenth year as a band, what to expect after the perfect Get to Heaven? (It seems as though Get to Heaven is my favourite but I do love the entire Everything Everyhting catalogue, I haven’t even gone into their early EPs or songs: Hey Jude Law/Magnetophone/Hiawatha Doomed etc…) Along came A Fever Dream (2017) in a couple of words, a shift. From the global scale to the more personal relations between you and I, how the titanic shifts in the socio-political landscape has affected people. Brexit, Trump, Syria, all the major troubles/problems around the globe are in some way involved there was no way they couldn’t be, being the artists that don’t dodge subjects but meet them head on. It is a charged album but there is a tongue and cheek attitude mixed in. Neither too dire or serious as it may seem ion first listen. Night of the Long Knives is up first my nerves settled instantly after the synth intro and the first airstrike sounding drone I knew it’d be a good listen. Titled in reference to the famous purge of their enemies by the Nazi Party from June 30th to July 2nd, 1934, to strengthen their hold over Germany. It is supposed to draw similarities to the rising of far-right parties like we have seen in recent times in the UK popularity of UKIP, Britain First, English Defence League etc, and white supremacists in the U.S.A. All seems forbidding but Higgs isn’t taking it that seriously, ‘And they say it’s a wave but it feels like a dribbling mouth’.

Can’t Do is loads of fun with its truly infectious ‘Can’t do the thing you want’ refrain acting as the chorus the drumming from Spearman here are top (the best bit for me and Higgs it seems) ‘I’m loving the bass, I’m loving the drums’. It was inspired by the frustration Higgs was having in coming up with the words for the melody that had been put down, writers block isn’t always a bad thing and can lead somewhere. It was an obvious single as well as Desire an arena worthy hit that is huge! Like on album number one a stripped back track caught my attention Put Me Together a song that Robertshaw worked heavily on reworking it many times over under the title Car Wash. A song that points out that we are not all that different from one another though sometimes we are adamant that that person is nothing like me. Sung from the viewpoint of a neighbour peering over the well trimmed hedges that outline the serene suburban Americana home, at all the other neighbours whom are so very different, an enemy that isn’t actually there. From a musical point Spearman gets to show his jazz background as he was encouraged to fill in a space with a load of jazz style drumming, fitting for the album as at times it seems to be rather freeing/spacious to me Put Me Together is beautiful. Blistering Ivory Tower (like Run the Numbers) is a familiar, quick addiction with the epic chorus, a bridge that ingrains itself into your skull and a guitar solo to boot. It really is an exhilarating highlight. On these songs it reminds me of the first album as A Fever Dream is the most guitar heavy record since the debut. They decided to end the rather dark journey on a positive note with White Whale wishing for things to be okay and the message ‘Never tell me we can’t go further’ an inclusionary message of both defiance and hope.

Everything Everything’s musical genius is in the way they apply their knowledge and love of many types of music into the compositions they craft. No boundaries are placed on what they can or want to make because of that they are one of the few musical acts with this rare of a combination of sound, write as interesting/thought provoking lyrics about some of the scariest challenges/problems of modern society on both the macro societal/economic/political and personal scales, live supremacy, sheer ability or style musically, album artwork, onstage image or most importantly strive to always improve. Everything Everything is undoubtedly one of the most bold, matchless bands of the 21st Century has or will ever hear.           

In Depth, Other

Late Listens: My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (2008)


                                            Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part.1

It was hard for me to pick where to begin with My Morning Jacket. Logically you start at the first release then work through chronologically, or if you know someone who their favourite band is My Morning Jacket (MMJ) you can always ask them.

So I did Will is a huge MMJ fan but as the chill and free spirit he is his answer was ‘Just start where you want’. So I went with the album that had the song I had heard first. That being Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2 The track is one of their most well known and so I jumped in and have eventually got to listening to the MMJ album Evil Urges (It Still Moves, 2003 was a close second as I love Run Thru, then again I have heard great things about Z, 2005 as well which I can now verify)

Any-who there is a 1960’s aura around parts (i.e. Evil Urges) of this record as the vocals at least for me fit into the psychedelic hippie space, high pitched and without constraint on the first song on the first song which is also shares its name with the title of the album. It is slightly askew but sets up well for the feel of what is to come as throughout the tracks their are similar psychedelic, experimental and progy spots.

 As I wrote in the the earlier paragraph the most well known track off this album and possibly in their entire discography is Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2 but as you can expect there is a Pt 1. The nae is one of the only things that they have in common along with a few of the lyrics and the contrasting sentiments. Pt 1 is wanting that connection with another ‘Touch me I’m going to scream if you don’t’ and Pt 2 is experiencing the connection ‘Oh, this feeling it is wonderful, don’t you ever turn it off!’. Sonically they differ the most, both are tremendous, Pt 1’s drumming is a particular draw with what I describe as stuttery feel mixed into the classic rock-esc beats, whilst on Pt 2 they are more robotic to fit into the slower, tripy vibes created by the the reverbed vocals and electronic synths that begin kick off the song ad come back in various forms in the chorus. Pt 1 is more traditional as it is more compact and shorter, it feels more intimate and emotional and Pt 2 is more celebratory.         

Perhaps the sweetest moment on the recording is Librarian a love song to someone who’s occupation is that of the songs name. It is a softly picked acoustic guitar driven piece with romantic strings and tender lyrics. It also struck me as it reminds me of the times I went to the library as a kid and more recent times Uni living in the library doing all nightmers frantically working to get them done for the looming deadlines. I guess I am realising my fondness for Libraries (though there wasn’t a Librarian that I took a fancy too).

Remnants straight up rocks with the killer lead lines and punching rhythms. Sec Walkin is a country song so there are a number of genres explored on Evil Urges but don’t worry as MMJ are stellar musicians they pull them all off with ease.

Evil Urges is just easy to listen to as it is consistent in its quality songwriting, intriguing expressions of sound, progressive movements and diversity in styles.