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Everything Everything Brixton Academy London201115 4

A Fever Dream: Everything Everything, Live in London

22 June 2017, 12:06 | Written by Harry Fletcher

“Thanks for coming to listen to a load of songs you’ve never heard before…” Normally, hearing such a phrase could strike fear into the hearts of music fans, but not tonight: It’s been 2 years since Everything Everything produced their most assured and critically-lauded album yet, Get Me To Heaven, and people are hungry for more. Tonight, London’s Heaven is packed with fans eager to hear tracks from forthcoming record, A Fever Dream, and they don't leave disappointed.

Everything Everything are kind of a big deal these days, and we're lucky to see the Manchester four-piece in an intimate London venue like this. Mind you, it’s hot. Like, ridiculously hot. It’s 30C outside, and Heaven is muggy as hell. Sweat is literally dripping down the walls as the band take the stage, opening with new track "Night of the Long Knives", which begins with a flurry of synthetic chirps and whirrs. It’s the first glimpse of new material, and a slow-burning start to the set.

It’s pretty clear early on that tonight is all about new tunes; fan-favourite "Kemosabe" is one of only three tracks taken from 2013’s Arc and the cheeky "Suffragette Suffragette" is the only thing we hear from 2010 debut Man Alive. Thankfully though, the unfamiliar material and the intense heat don't hold anyone back.

Frenetic new single "Can’t Do" is a highlight, and while dazzling performances of "Cough Cough" and "Distant Past" are gentle reminders that Everything Everything have produced more immediate and perhaps more convincing lead singles for their albums in the past, on tonight’s evidence "Can’t Do" is already becoming an important part of the band’s set. It’s greeted with a sweaty singalong from the Heaven crowd, and seems tailor-made for the summer festival circuit.

For the most part, the new songs sound more synth-heavy, and slightly less idiosyncratic than what has come before - it looks like the band’s days of playing around with weird time signatures and pinballing vocal melodies might be over for the time being - but there are still a few surprises in store. There’s gnarly guitar riffage, fervent math-rock and fluttering electronica thrown in across the seven new tracks played tonight, and the band demonstrate their pop credentials on new track "Desire". It’s one of the most instantly accessible of the new songs, with a stadium-sized chorus, and looks destined to be released as a single before too long.

However, the set's centrepiece arrives in the form of the new album's title track, which manages to sound unlike anything the band have produced before. Singer Jonathan Higgs sits at a piano, a lone stage light plunged over him, playing a series of plangent opening chords. Yet what begins as an introspective ballad soon locks into an immersive and intriguing groove, moving through a myriad of textures and moods. It’s strange and captivating, and sounds not unlike one of the more meditative tracks from Thom Yorke’s The Eraser. It grows as it progresses, and seems to go a similar way to much of the new material; the tracks from A Fever Dream may seem less immediate and punchy than the albums that have gone before, but they're no less convincing. Over repeat listens, the unfamiliar songs played tonight could well end up being fan favourites just a few short months down the line.

Bringing a close to a promising set, Higgs leads the crowd in a triumphant rendition of "No Reptiles", which manages to make the strange central lyric about a “fat child in a push chair” sound truly life-affirming, before leaving the crowd to spill out into the evening heat.

Get Me To Heaven was described as a “masterpiece” by some two years ago. Only time will tell whether A Fever Dream will receive the same plaudits, but the set played in London tonight only cements Everything Everything’s status as one of the most unpredictable and essential bands the UK has to offer in 2017. This is one fever dream from which tonight’s crowd won’t want to wake up.

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