Heretofore, the new EP from North Carolina indie-jammers Megafaun, is the epitome of a bipolar collective. Containing six songs and just at thirty-three minutes long, it’s almost exactly half exhilerating, melodic, American folk-rock, but the other half is just noise. To call it hit-or-miss would be an understatement.
A good gauge getting a synopsis of the album would be to listen to the opening and title track, “Heretofore”. While part of it sounds similar to another bearded North Carolina band, Band of Horses, the other half is all bleeps and bloops, tongue clacking and feedback.
“Carolina Days” is a little more rootsy; rockin’ Americana. But then following it is “Eagle”, which is musically all over the place. And just when you’re about to give up on this EP altogether, they follow a dud like “Eagle” with a banjo-infused gem like “Volunteers”, which evokes dogwood trees swaying in the Carolina breeze with multi-part harmonies and country twang, and you really feel like this band has potential to be awesome.
Continuing with the true hit-or-miss theme, the following track is a twelve-and-a-half minute experimental instrumental called “Comprovisation for Connor Pass”, which is a song featuring a lot of buildup, a lot of freeform sax, and takes ten minutes to get to “the good part”. If you can make it through that whole track, you possess more patience than I do.
Megafaun tacked another gem onto the end, “Bonnie’s Song”, another melodic Avett Brothers-meets-Bon Iver-type track. Maybe Megafaun needs to do a bit more experimenting with sounds before they find one that makes them happy. But there seem to be two Megafauns present on Heretofore: one lives happily with My Morning Jacket, Guster, and the Black Keys, and the other peruses with Animal Collective and Sonic Youth. It seems that if they aren’t able to merge the two halves into something that isn’t just total racket, then they should flip a coin and see where they land.
Rating:[itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/heretofore/id387983080?uo=4" title="Heretofore" text="Heretofore on iTunes"]
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