ARTIST: The Everywheres
RELEASE: Dignity Forever
RELEASE DATE: 21/04/16
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Those who spend substantial time seeking out and delving into music, culture and history know that the word ‘underground’ may be associated with genres as diverse as post-punk, darkwave, alt-rock, art rock, metal and so on and so forth. But for the radio friendly listener who enjoys a bit of everything and doesn’t scratch under the surface or back into the past (perhaps those who are not musical obsessed), the term ‘underground’ is associated most typically with bands that fall under the psych-rock, psych-pop category. That’s right, Tame Impala, MGMT and Sufjan Stevens… Those interesting psychedelic rockers and songwriters that festival-folk drool over, and that land large airplay on ‘underground’ and ‘alternative’ music stations alike. This demand for more ‘flower-rock’ and indie-psych has given prominence once again to psychedelic music, originally born within the wild sixties. And this itself has allowed many great and talented bands to rise to fame, acting and performing concurrently with the mainstream. At a local, unsigned and semi-professional level, the genre has also risen in popularity, paving the way for bands like The Everywheres to release popular, intelligent and 60’s-inspired psych music… And they have done just that. The Everywheres are a Halifax psych rock/indie pop band whose new album Dignity Fever acts as almost a literal time-machine back to the 60’s, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the 00’s indie scene. The album is a tricky psych cross between bands such as Tame Impala and Artic Monkeys, mixing the sounds of dance-styled indie with a neon-lit psych mood, assisted by the ‘duh-duh-duh-duh’ pulsating keyboard in the background of many songs.
The album opens with ‘Wishing Well’, a song that sounds like it could have come straight from the fingers of Tame Impala; the slow, rattle guitars and the percussive and snare heavy drums couple the space-vocals and pulsating keyboards. But while the song has interesting dynamics it never amounts to anything of intense interest or originality, the vocals sit on a reverb-ish wave of little absorption and the acidy style pop the band aim for disappear under this almost five-minute, half-written piece. The following song ‘I Still (Love You)’, redeems the band however, and presents the listener with a tight slice of brilliantly written psych rock. The sound produced by the song is pure fun, groovy, entrancing and most important psychedelic, and settles in next to greats such as Jefferson Airplane, until swerving into an intelligent singing rant just before the two minute mark; fantastic. The title track keeps things just as interesting, slowing down the tempo so much; it pushes against the strum of dream pop. Here, the vocals seem even higher than other songs and ‘Dignity Fever’ rolls along with a humble and hazy 60’s trip… It is the sort of song you could see becoming integral to festival circuits and crowds around the world. The opening bars contain even more psych magic as the keyboards tap away with twangy guitars humming over the top of the music and the lyrics and chord progression offer a spaced-out picture of the sun shining down on the sand. On ‘Dignity Fever’ the bands giant, layered and bright sound is harnessed fully, creating a neat swell of music.
‘Sagittarius’ sounds like ‘Dignity Fever’ with less musical presence and a warped, Artic Monkeys style chorus that doesn’t fit or enhance the song in the greatest light. The tap-tap-tap-tap keyboard begins in a riveting fashion but slowly becomes more and more overdone, distracting the listener from the other perhaps interesting aspects of the track. However, one must praise the bands mix of indie, garage and psych on this track (and indeed the entire album) and the intelligent guitar tones presented throughout. Finally, after much of a similar mood through the entire album, ‘Trembling Hand’ comes along, with a beautiful and soulful, Lovin Spoonful inspired acoustic guitar, and intimate lyrics and vocals. ‘Trembling Hand’ seems less heavy on the instrumentation, allowing The Everywheres to concentrate on the finer details of the song, which culminates in an entrancing and compelling listen; an album highlight. ‘South of Quinpool Road’, the albums seventh track, opens with the same tapping background keyboards and bright tones of ‘Sagittarius’, something that I felt ultimately bored and tired with. However, the band soon deviate from the similar structure of previous songs when ‘Quinpool Road’ swirls down into a keyboard laden jam, with powerful and shaky guitars and a touch of ease soothes over the song; something I must commend. It then goes even further down in style and becomes a heavier styled listen; a band that may switch moods such as The Everywheres do on this song, must be congratulated for their musical skills and song writing. The album ends with the contemplative track ‘The Law’, which fades majestically into the preverbal horizon that the album has engineered for itself; a fitting and alluring closer for the album. The track mixes emotive music with the bouncing, psych jam of ‘I Still (Love You)’ with beguiling lyrics that make this almost six-minute closer one of the greatest tracks on the album. If one track, one tiny slice of music, could represent The Everything’s goals, ultimate sound and peak song writing skills, then it would be ‘The Law’, with all its character and prepossessing elements.
Dignity Fever will certainly appeal to quite a wide audience, perhaps ultimately in relation to the aforementioned popularity of psych/garage/indie rock and pop in the main scheme of the underground and mainstream. But, fundamentally, the album is weak in several places, with bland and recycled song forms and a vocal style and level that never reaches any great height doesn’t do it any favours. Similarly, song structures seem drawn out, boring and sometimes the music fades into the background, even when one listens intently to the record. The tapping keyboards begin to become almost humorous in some passages as the same touch-touch-touch sound dwells in the background. All of this, however, is not to say that the album isn’t enjoyable on many levels. Songs like ‘I Still (Love You)’, the title track and the epic album closer ‘The Law’ are put together brilliantly and engage the listener, with great lyrics, fantastic performances and production, and just enough instrumentation to border on a deeper and more intricate sound. The lyrics, while sometimes there to maintain simply vocal presence, are mostly interesting and well-written. And finally, the mixing and production is great, and the albums overall sound has been well engineered and melds smoothly together with the 60’s inspired feel of the ‘summer of love’ psych rock sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.