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The Fever Haze's Fifth Record Moonbow: Glowing as Warm and Bright as the Name Suggests

When I was first recommended The Fever Haze’s 2022 record, An Apple on the Highest Branch, I knew they’d be a band for me. The Michigan band’s fourth record immediately brought them to the status of “band I’ll be screaming from the rooftops about,” with a driving sound that effortlessly switches between country-tinged indie rock and dream pop and a warm Midwestern atmosphere that can be conjured up just by closing your eyes and pressing play. The Fever Haze’s latest record, Moonbow, released last month via Graveface Records, is a simultaneously glittery, swampy, and confident continuation of the band’s story—with bandleader Jackie Kalmink’s most vulnerable lyrics to date reprising their starring role. 


Just as Kalmink’s other band Greet Death can equally live at home on the bills of emo, alt-country, and even screamo shows with their honed-in fusion of different atmospheres and levels of heaviness, The Fever Haze also continues to push their sound beyond its starting point with their latest record. The introduction of synthy textures on An Apple marked a significant shift in the band’s means of storytelling, and that gets developed even further with Moonbow. Drenched in glimmering synths and electronics, a track like “Heat High” has an almost 80’s new wave intrigue to it when it begins, unusually dancy in contrast to the fuzzed-out shoegaze the record most heavily leans into. Moments like these and the escapist first single “All Flowers Grow” bring out a sense of euphoria that bands of their ilk typically shy away from, but it’s an essential part of this record’s identity and one of the reasons to easily opt for it amongst others in their currently buzzy sonic scene. On the flipside, there is some straight up perfect shoegaze on Moonbow that dares not to be overlooked, especially “(I’ll Always Leave a Part of My Heart in) Colorado.” An unassuming track at its beginning with a haunting acoustic guitar, it emotionally builds to a wall of noise that washes over Kalmink’s vocals by the time it concludes. 


The record is ultimately characterized by Kalmink’s journey of self-discovery and comfort in herself as a trans woman. The eerie aura of “Last Night I Killed A Man” also possesses a celebratory undertone as Kalmink is able to eliminate her past self and begin life as she’s been meant to. There’s a joy to much of the record, both sonically as aforementioned and lyrically as she shifts into a gear of clearly personal songwriting now that she is living out her most authentic self. “How Lucky My Eyes” and “I Love It Here,” for example, are such sweet tracks about the feeling of being fully comfortable in a relationship, with the former being a perfect, nostalgic slow dance tempo and the latter bursting with energy and fuzzy feelings. 


Moonbow is a full realization of just how grand a dreamy shoegaze record can sound, balancing tender and more downturned introspective moments to create a little world of The Fever Haze’s own. If fans of the genre are seeking for a new, underrated release to spend their springtime with, look no further.

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