by Nick Hanover
Halfway through lead single “Feel So Much,” Go Fever mastermind Acey Monaro apologizes to an abusive partner, telling him she’s “sorry you married such a big talker/a mainstreet girl/a daydream hawker.” The line drips with disdain but Monaro gives it quivering vulnerability too, emphasizing daydream hawker in a way that makes it impossible not to hear the way that particular phrase has long been weaponized against her. It’s a delivery that communicates Monaro’s fear that all of her aspirations are nebulous, that they’re the what if visions of a doomed romantic, but it also communicates Monaro’s ability to turn that self-doubt back around on those who would use it against her. What Monaro says between the lines, in the lip sneer twist of “daydream” in particular, is a hearty fuck you to anyone who doubts she’s going to be as big as the dreams she hawks.
Those major league aspirations are present throughout Daydream Hawker, the whipcrack sharp follow-up EP to Go Fever’s eponymous debut, manifesting themselves in the union of Monaro’s ever larger voice and ever sharper wit as well as in the increasingly ambitious sound of the band. Where that debut tentatively introduced us to Monaro the bandleader rather than Monaro the lone singer-songwriter, Daydream Hawker provides a clearer picture of what Monaro strives to be: a full-fledged star worthy of sharing stages with her ’70s rock idols, commanding a tight and inventive band willing to follow her down any path she wants to explore.
That’s good because Daydream Hawker’s sparse five tracks go down an impressive number of paths. “Feel So Much” alone bridges Meat Loaf drama rock, melodic synth heavy New Wave and Stiff Records style stomp. It’s followed by “Cling” which begins as an honest to god synth pop number before blossoming into a glammy anthem Go Fever peers Sweet Spirit would likely be envious of. And on either side of those two tracks you’ve got some Glaswegian twee pop and a rhythm-heavy theatrical ballad respectively.
Individually, the songs on Daydream Hawker are damn great, but it’s the bigger picture they represent that is most impressive. Go Fever aren’t here for spare drink tickets and perhaps one day landing a five second placement on basic cable, they’re out to conquer permanent space in your brain with songs dedicated in narrative and sound to the undelivered promise of something better. Lyrically, that comes through most in Monaro’s soft spot for the dreamers who cashed in for stability rather than the lofty but sporadic highs of capital a art. On album closer “KOTRA” she details the “king of the roadside attraction,” an ad copy poet putting a literary knack in service of a Burma Shave library. The beat and riffs skew romantic but Monaro neither pities nor accepts this king’s lot in life– she understands why he made the decision he did but she needs you to understand it’s not one she’ll be making for herself.
Daydream Hawker isn’t Go Fever’s masterpiece, it’s true– it’s very much the work of a band realizing they’re on the brink of magnificence and if they’re lucky, with its follow-up they’ll pluck one of those strands of lightning flashing all around them and bottle it. But its highlights, “Feel So Much” in particular, ably prove Acey Monaro is the rarest kind of big talker, the one who is actually going places. Maybe in some other reality she went the way of that king of the roadside attraction and settled for an easier life of compromise and disappointment. But I’m glad here in this reality, we’re getting a chance to see that all that big talk is still tiny compared to the heights she’s eventually going to reach.
Go Fever play the Howdy Galentines event at Hole in the Wall on Thursday, February 14th
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Ovrld as well as Loser City, where he mostly writes about comics. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with his friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover