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GO FEVER - 'Daydream Hawker' EP Review


1. Olivia

2. Feel So Much

3. Cling

4. Say The Word

5. Kotra

Growing up in the very early days of MTV provided something that seems to have gone away from mainstream culture these days which was being exposed to a wide variety of genres, songs, and bands because MTV had a limited number of videos and a whole day to fill. It made sense to go from Devo to the Clash to Def Leppard to Madonna to David Bowie… On some level, we forgot to even think about the different genres as a child and just liked what we liked.

What does that have to do with GO FEVER? This Austin, TX based band (with Australian roots too) has followed up their debut with this excellent 5 song EP that finds them channeling their sound in many areas with some lush poppy powerful vocals on top of a solid Rock frame. GO FEVER are not interested in fitting nicely inside a box. They clearly want to establish the GO FEVER sound and let the rest of us catch up with them. My first experience with them was blind buying their debut album at Waterloo Records in Austin a couple years ago after reading many positive things about the band. I enjoyed the album but not to the degree I am enjoying these songs.

Lead song ‘Olivia’ serves as a nice entry point for the EP with the tasteful keyboards by Jim Campo making an immediate appearance on top of the Rock beat by Benjamin Burdick (bass) and Josh Merry (drums). If you told me this was an early 80’s song that has been redone with a modern touch, I would definitely believe it as it contains elements of the early New Wave bands and the contagiousness of the Go-Go’s. Acey Monaro was born to sing, and she showcases a remarkable range and techniques across these 5 songs. On ‘Olivia,’ she conveys a sense of assurance in her mid-range during the verses before showcasing her higher tones on the chorus to create a song that would likely appeal to fans of the poppier side of the Manics (Manic Street Preachers for those in the States that might not know the reference).

‘Feel So Much’ turns up the tempo a little bit more with Keith Lough’s guitar getting an opportunity to make itself known at the start of the song with a hypnotic little run that gets louder as it goes. The vocal hook here is not complicated and feels like an old friend. The keyboards again provide a poppy background without sacrificing the Rock vibe of the song. There is a little reprieve right before the end that works perfectly to set up the last chorus. 'Cling’ slows things down with an electronic beat and the keyboards setting the stage for Monaro’s beautiful vocal where she warns not to ‘pick the scab if you do not want to bleed.’ This ballad hits a great crescendo in the choruses. Monaro then hits some great high notes to give the song a bit more power.

Repeated listens have highlighted to me that I seem to enjoy the songs the most in reverse order to some degree as I think the EP gets stronger as it goes. The rhythmic opening to ‘Say The Word’ sets the song up perfectly, and this might be my favourite song by the band. It has a very different texture to it with it feeling ceremonial at times. The keyboards and beat that open ‘Kotra’ make me think of the Bangles musically, and the chorus is simply huge. With the little guitar riffs under the surface and the lush production, this should be another one that ultimately appeals to Manics fans that like the poppier songs. Production on this release is top notch, and I find myself drawn deeper and deeper into the lyrics with every listen.

While I enjoyed GO FEVER’s debut, these 5 songs are working on a whole other level for me and have made a much more immediate impact. This has been on repeat since I first started playing it with successive listens highlighting different elements in the songs. I carried over two EP’s (American Jetset, Spencer and the Elegant Blackouts) from the very end of 2018 for 2019 EP of the Year contenders, I will be very surprised if this one is also not on the list at the end of the year.

‘Daydream Hawker’ is available now.

Review - Gerald Stansbury

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