Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Album Review: Megafaun - Heretofore

Trying to categorize bands can be a particularly tough task, but when you're talking about Triangle trio Megafaun, it's always been impossible.

The band keeps its eclectic nature alive on their latest release, a mini-album titled Heretofore. The album's six tracks are all over the place, but somehow manage to have a bizarre, indescribable cohesiveness.

Things start with the swirling, wall of sound of the title track, "Heretofore," while a fairly steady beat chugs throughout behind saturated vocals. Things turn on a dime with "Carolina Days," Megafaun's most straightforward pop song to date, complete with a shimmering slide guitar solo towards the end.

Flipping again, "Eagle" is a slow, sauntering, almost seven-minute song, which is occasionally bombarded with some trippy saxophone or fuzzed out guitar. The song "Volunteers" pairs a beautiful melody with melancholy lyrics and a groove that feels like a lazy summer afternoon.

Where the album veers a bit off track is the twelve and a half minute instrumental track "Comprovisation For Connor Pass." While there are some beautiful moments, most falling past the six-minute mark, including an excellent Middle Eastern-esque groove accompanied by swarms of layered strings.

The album closes with the mellow "Bonnie's Song," featuring beautiful harmonies throughout interweaving with banjo lines.

Heretofore is a strong release from a band who are clearly ever evolving, not afraid break the rules and defy expectations. I can't wait to hear what comes next.

Heretofore is out now on Hometapes Records. Megafaun will play three nights at the Hayti Center in Durham with special guests Fight the Big Bull, Sharon Van Etten and Justin Vernon on Sept. 17, 18 and 19.

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