photo by Mel Koutchavalis
The band returns with their blistering new album
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By Jeff McCord
When vocalist Acey Monaro lit out for her native Australia last summer, she and her husband Ben Burdick left behind high COVID rates, an inactive Austin music scene, and the rest of their band. Go Fever, a fixture on the Austin scene since 2017, had just finished an intense ten-day June session at White Denim’s Radio Milk studios, recording their second album. But when it would be released, or when the band could reconvene, remained uncertain. Without gigs, or Acey’s supporting day jobs as a bartender and booker, there was simply no work. In Australia, where COVID was much more under control, she found work painting houses and got to spend some time with her family. But she missed her bandmates, and listening to the rough mixes of the session, she felt they really had something.
They did. In this time of endless introspection and echo-laden synthetics, Velvet Fist has the effect of a door slamming at a funeral. You sit up and listen. Call it melodic ferocity. It can be a bit retro (the band calls themselves ‘uncool’ in their bio, and Stones and new wave influences do bob to the surface), but their songwriting wit places them very much in the present day. It’s bracing hook-laden indie rock, where auto-tune is vanquished, guitars aren’t shy, and neither is Monaro, powering track after track into a thrilling frenzy. Like all good records should – and so few actually do – the nine tracks fly by. It all ends way too soon.
A single is out now, and Nine Mile Records releases Velvet Fist on October 8th. It’s been a long layoff, but it’s time for Go Fever to go back to work.