Megafauna Rips Back Onto The Scene With Olympico
On April 28th, Austin-based psych-rock band Megafauna released their latest album, Olympico! I had the opportunity to chat with Dani and Will and see most of these tracks performed back at Treefort in March. Check out the interview here, and read on for our thoughts on Olympico!
Let’s start off with the instrumentals on this album. When I saw Megafauna at Treefort, one of the first things I noticed was the intensity and intricacy of the instrumental performances. Instrumentals like “Bi Postal” create a distorted sludge – I promise that is a compliment – for Dani Neff’s vocals to wade through on the verses and break out of on the chorus. The doubling of the guitar line on “Capsize” and the way it weaves in and out of the bass creates a tension that the song resolves in the chorus before shoving the listener right back in. Title track “Olympico” feels a bit like the driving music on Bart’s levels in The Simpsons: Hit & Run, and using that sort of punk or ska influence taps into nostalgia while maintaining the intensity of modern psych-rock. As a casual gamer, this was one of my favorite connections that my brain made with the wider world outside of Olympico. Neff, Will Krause, Winston Barrett, and Zack Humphrey show off their penchant for tapping into the collective unconscious throughout the album in the riffs and grooves they create.
Olympico also really shines in the lyrics. Starting an album with the lyric “Say goodbye to normal people” after 45 seconds of instrumental build-up is a power move. I’ve often found in psych-rock that the lyrics can get away with being nonsensical because of the intricacies of the music, but Neff really does her best to make the lyrics mean something, succeeding basically every time.
Also, this album is nearly perfectly sequenced. As I’ve said before and will continue to say until the end of time, there are four important songs for albums to nail: the opener, end of Side A, start of Side B, and the closer. The opener, as I’ve already mentioned, is a phenomenal power move, and the end of Side A, “Capsize,” is probably my favorite track on this album. The start of Side B, “Sometimes Island” – at least according to my interpretation of the Spotify version of the album which, for some reason, unfortunately leaves out “Lookout Mountain” – brings the energy down to a chill bossa nova groove. The only slight misstep Megafauna made, in my opinion, is putting “Rage of the Queen” as the closer. I think if “Dozer” and “Rage of the Queen” were flipped, the sequence would be perfect (though, if you’ve read my review of IDLES’ CRAWLER, you might see a pattern forming with this logic).
Overall, though, Megafauna’s Olympico is absolutely worthy of your time. Clocking in at a tight 33 minutes and 51 seconds, it feels like it’s over too soon, but much like Post Animal’s Forward Motion Godyssey, that just makes me want to loop it. Go through it again. Ride that roller coaster. Olympico brings you through the highs and lows of life in a short amount of time, and much like life, there are many beautiful moments.
Check it out below, and let us know what you think!