Sep 20, 2009

Gather, Form & Fly-Megafaun

Inventive and original, "Gather, Form & Fly", the newest album from Megafaun is an absorbing and intriguing piece of music. The trio of Brad Cook, Joe Westerlund and Phil Cook call North Carolina home, but they truly exist in the world of musical possibilities and the land of free spirits. For on this album, their second, their music soars and floats, dazzling the listener with a cornucopia of sounds and a dedication to making the heart move.

The album begins with "Bella Marie", a short instrumental that features some lilting guitar. But it is track two that announces the import of this album. "Kaufman's Ballad" is the moving story of Phil, Gram Parsons' manager, who took his body to Joshua Tree and cremated it in gasoline as Parsons requested. The song is gentle and yet muscular, featuring a weeping violin and lush folk harmonies. Harmonies abound on this release, ably illustrated on the loping and melodic "The Fade", a song that feels like it could have been played out at Woodstock. Another great feature of the music is the variety. This is no one note album. "Impressions of the Past" begins as a jaunty, reclining ditty, that includes some inviting horns before breaking down into something that feels akin to the experimentation of Broken Social Scene. Yes, for this album is truly inventive. For every strummed guitar there is a discordant note, an oddly plucked chord, a thrusting piece of percussion. All to keep the ear inquisitive and aware, making you look forward to the next surprise around the corner. To mention a few other highlights, there is the genial "Worried Mind" or the thrusting and bold "The Process". Or how about the bluesy and rambling "Solid Ground". Not to mention the dusky sounds of "Darkest Hour", which is a literal rainstorm in your mind. Then there is the triumphant and stunning "The Longest Day", a translucent ballad that combines banjo (sigh) and truly sublime vocals. Just superb. Which this album is, in every way. The effortless and organic process of welding authentic country sounds to modern times has rarely been bettered.

MP3: The Fade-Megafaun

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