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Megafauna

Independent release, 2016

http://www.megafaunamusic.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/30/2017

Is it just me or did Megafauna get considerably better since their last album? Not that 2014's Maximalist was anything to spit at, nor was ay of their work prior to that, but it appears that the Austin, Texas rockers have improved by leaps and bounds with their fourth album Welcome Home.

I suppose it doesn't hurt that the trio revisits the sounds of proto-metal here, with an explosive and robust rhythm section delivered by drummer Zach Humphrey and bassist Will Krause, who are both adept at intimate as well as propulsive moments. Frontwoman Dani Neff's biting guitar riffs and airy-meets-haunting vocals are an inimitable and chief component to the equation, too, making the outfit heavy hitters in the area of prog-rock influenced metal.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Desire” starts off with progressive version of rock with guitar solos, laying down a firm foundation before “Doubt,” which is a more upbeat affair with a fun groove. Then, the disc unfolds into the mysterious, hypnotic rock of “Panpsychist” and “It's So Simple,” the latter being the quietest moment, almost like a Mazzy Star song with a acid-rock slant and a shoegazey, Radiohead influence. These cuts pave the way for the most psych-rock influenced song on the album, “Interlude,” which utilizes warbling synth to its advantage.

The second half of the album brings the most accessible song, the pop friendly and fun, bluesy guitars of “Gala,” which could be the tripped-out, fuzzy version of Bjork. Meanwhile, “Hogs Out” is a track that is tailor made for the grunge era, making great use of soft versus loud dynamics. Megafauna ends the album on a high note with the sparse, echoing, and dreamy “Don't Ask Me Questions” that abruptly gets distorted, and the eight-minute title track that concludes the album and covers all edges of their spacey, multifaceted version of hard rock.

While it's getting hard to keep track of all the great bands coming out of Austin these days, here's one we should all be watching closely and listening attentively to, as they are one of the best.

Rating: A-

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