Megafaun: Heretofore

A-

Megafaun

Album: Heretofore
Label: Hometapes
A-

Megafaun

Album: Heretofore
Label: Hometapes

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Oversaturation has officially set in on contemporary indie-folk, with a crowded slate of easy-listening pop-bluegrass combos and whispery, guitar-slinging misery merchants threatening to drown out truly worthwhile groups like Megafaun. The North Carolina trio should’ve set itself apart from the pack with 2009’s Gather, Form & Fly, a heady marriage of pastoral folk and spacey psychedelia with its eyes fixed squarely on the outer reaches of the 21st century. With the EP Heretofore, Megafaun boldly sets off in a decidedly different, entirely unexpected direction, turning away from Gather’s forward-thinking experimentation and bringing it all back home on a set of muscular folk-rock songs. Not that Megafaun is ever capable of playing it completely straight; the breathtaking 13-minute instrumental “Comprovisation For Connor Pass” moves cinematically through a wilderness of free-jazz, classical Americana, and post-rock, and “Eagle” infuses a slow-rolling bluesy stroll with squawking horns on loan from The Stooges’ Funhouse. But even Heretofore’s loosey-goosiest elements seem more approachable this time around, especially when couched in some of the sturdiest songwriting of the band’s career on the wistful ballad “Volunteers” and the surprisingly anthemic title track. Megafaun already ranked among the most adventurous bands in its genre; hopefully with Heretofore, curious Avetts and Mumford fans will join the ride.

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