Megafaun : Megafaun
You may remember the North Carolina trio for their 2009 sleeper hit Gather, Form & Fly, but they're better recognised as Bon Iver's old bandmates; back when he was just Justin Vernon, and they were collectively De Yarmond Edison. It would seem that time has healed the wounds that led to their separation as Megafaun recorded their latest eponymous effort at Vernon's home studio in Wisconsin.
Their sound however, is less emotionally-wrought, torch-lit acoustics and more in line with the eclectic freak folk of fellow nationals Akron/Family and Bowerbirds (both of which they've toured with). Their third studio album sees brothers Phil and Brad Cook along with multi-instrumentalist Joe Westerlund, continuing to develop their blend of roots rock and experimentalism.
Opening with the lilting Real Slow, spirited by an unhurried pace whose grace is worthy of seventies-era The Band, they quickly spiral off into confident variations of Americana as dependable as harmony-led folk-rock (Resurrection), sun-scorched blues (Scorned) or as far-flung as the big-band New Orleans instrumental Isadora. There's even room for electronic-tinged dalliances in the form of Serene Return and the wobbly rhythms of These Words.
At fifteen tracks, it's a genre-hopping listen that's as exhausting as it is stylistically exhaustive. There's no faulting their comprehensive grasp of many musical styles, but Megafaun's consistency is hard to maintain across so many stylistic shifts. They're at their best when those many loose threads tie together, such as on the anthemic Everything with its rich splashes of strings, horns, uke and feminine vocal accompaniment.
BY AL NEWSTEAD
Best Track: Anything
If You Like These, You'll Like This : Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free AKRON/FAMILY, Upper Air BOWERBIRDS, Feast of Wire CALEXICO, At Echo Lake WOODS
In A Word : Eclectic