Megafaun: Gather, Form & Fly CD review (Shockhound)

Last year’s BURY THE SQUARE mini-LP positioned Megafaun as one of the more accessible and interesting proponents of the then-hyped freak-folk genre. With GATHER, FORM & FLY, the North Carolina group gives a much more complete picture of their abilities, and the results are astounding. With more than twice as many songs as on BURY THE SQUARE, GATHER, FORM & FLY not only delivers several tracks that evoke the whispery weirdness of their debut (such as “Kaufman’s Ballad”), but with cuts like “Worried Mind,” “The Longest Day” and “The Fade,” Megafaun show off an unabashed facility with strong melodies and traditional country-music instrumentation. Of course, there are still quite a few odd-bird cuts here; “Guns” clocks in at more than seven minutes long, filled with a melange of CSNY-style harmonies, sprawling structures and elegiac instrumentation, while “Columns” is a part spoken-word, part a capella, part campfire tune, part psychedelic freakout and part calypso jam. While Megafaun are a bit all over the map on this new disc, it’s a map they’ve drawn all by themselves, and the group has managed to create music that’s not only unusual, but also evocative and engaging.

First appeared July 21, 2009 at Shockhound.com.

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