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Megafaun: Gather, Form & Fly

A

Megafaun

Album: Gather, Form & Fly
Label: Hometapes

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Americana has always been a troublesome genre tag, both too broad in the wide range of roots music it covers, and too narrow when it comes to all-American sounds not made by bearded Caucasian folkies. Megafaun fits squarely in the bearded Caucasian folkie camp, but the ethereal Gather, Form & Fly is far too extraterrestrial-sounding to be bound to this planet, much less this country. Evoking a warmly inviting yet mysteriously alien countryside terrain reminiscent of those gorgeously golden wheat fields from Terrence Malick’s Days Of Heaven, Gather, Form & Fly has a psychedelic mind and a Pentecostal heart, applying raggedly strummed banjos and woozy acoustic guitars to harmonies that swell heavenward like ghostly dust clouds. Megafaun comes closest to playing it straight on “Worried Mind,” a reassuring, finger-picking folk ballad (with a title borrowed from Ray Acuff) that only sounds strange because it stands apart from the unsettling weirdness surrounding it. Elsewhere, the spooky “Kaufman’s Ballad” salutes Gram Parsons’ corpse-stealing manager before melting into cacophonous storms of swirling, multi-part suites like “Impressions Of The Past” and “Columns,” which re-imagine Smile-era Beach Boys as God-fearing compatriots to The Band.