Durham trio Megafaun are always full of surprises and have a tendency to exude great musical depth, so when they release new music, we stop and take notice. Their new self-titled album is their most adventurous, yet most accessible release to date.
Gone are the most of the freak folk sounds that garnered them that label early on, and in its place, lots of electric guitars and piano.
The flowing, shimmering electric guitars of "Real Slow" and the eight and a half minute "Get Right" show off the band's folk rock side.
This album showcases Phil Cook's amazing piano skills for the first time on a Megafaun record on the phenomenal ballad "Hope You Know" which also features beautiful backing vocals by Heather McEntire of Mount Moriah.
Sprinkled throughout the album are some excellent horns arranged by Matt White of Fight the Big Bull and featuring members of the band. The horns get showcased on the groovy instrumental "Isadora." Mark Paulson of Bowerbirds also plays violin on many tracks.
The band let their love of traditional blues on the breathy, gritty traditional song "Scorned," which is complete with a cutting, overdriven harmonica.
No Megafaun album would be complete without a stunning folk pop masterpiece sung by Brad Cook and "State/Meant" fills the quota beautifully. It is also the only song on the album to feature banjo and has the strongest sonic ties to the band's previous releases.
The album comes to a close with uplifting, hymn-like "Everything," featuring the exquisite vocals of Canadian singer-songwriter Frazey Ford.
Megafaun sounds like a band get coming into their own, exploring new sounds while honing their songwriting and hanging on to the sense of charm and enthusiasm that has made the band so endearing to fans for years. It's cliche to say, but this could be their breakthrough album.
Megafaun will be released on September 20. The band will play the Cat's Cradle on September 22.