Day Fever CD
Life is, on occasion, terrifying. Day Fever, an album half-jokingly named after an outdated euphemism for hysteria, embraces that. The record is indie-pop act Dear Reader’s first in four years, and was recorded over ten days in John Vanderslice’s San Francisco studio.
Already far from home in Berlin, the South African musician’s trek to San Francisco meant a huge adjustment in terms of her recording style. Dear Reader hadn’t explored recording straight to tape previous to this album, which meant digitally correcting small mistakes during production wasn’t an option: they’d keep a track or erase it - all of it - and start again. “It went against everything I felt comfortable with,” Cherilyn says, calling the loss of control initially terrifying.
Vanderslice, though, persuaded her to cozy up to these small mistakes, accepting imperfection as part of what makes good, honest music. In the end, MacNeil insists that her decision to work with Vanderslice, rather than to produce the album herself in Berlin, was exactly what her music needed.
It's the most naked thing Dear Reader has ever made. With lyrics that teeter on the knife-edge of saying too much, the new album hides nothing, preferring the gauzy ornament of biblical language to cloaking songs in obscurity. With reference to saints, kings, prophets, holy tongues, and beasts, Day Fever paints a world in which our secret selves, both the noble and the ugly, lay exposed out in the sun.