"What's the band's name?""Megafaun.""What's the album called?""Megafaun."The trail discovered by 2008's Bury The Square, blazed by 2009's Gather, Form & Fly, and tended by 2010's Heretofore has run into a wide and rushing river. The band we know as Megafaun, born alongside Bon Iver in the ashes that rose from DeYarmond Edison (Brad Cook, Joe Westerlund, and Phil Cook's former band with Justin Vernon), has woven years of writing, touring, and living into a new sonic language. Critically-praised and publicly-loved for their ability to speak in the many tongues of American musical history -- all while blending it with their own energetic and personal form of Rock -- Megafaun has staked a claim. But the lay of that land they call theirs -- the hills, valleys, and caves beneath -- is just revealing itself in the sunrise. This is the band we know, but in a new light. This is Megafaun.
Across its first two LPs--2008's Bury the Square on Table of the Elements and Gather, Form and Fly, the band's Hometapes debut--Megafaun did nothing if not test the boundaries of its comforts. Joe Westerlund and brothers Brad and Phil Cook (singers, songwriters, composers, arrangers and improvisers all) found rarified intersections between bedrock folk and howling drone, between primal blues and cascading feedback, between canyon rock and warped field recordings. Heretofore, a mini-album and Megafaun's third release in as many years, is yet another articulation of the band's evolved Americana vernacular. Rather than push the boundaries with sonic plundering or structural pillaging, however, Heretofore finds Megafaun pairing five of its most concise, communicative songs to date with its most challenging, compelling experiment ever, a radiant and redemptive 13-minute instrumental called "Comprovisation for Connor Pass."
Megafaun: Bury the Square
From the vibrant Southern quasi-capital of Durham emerge Megafaun, wearing earnestness across the chest and abstraction along the sleeves. They pour forth dulcet harmonies, as seeking vocals tug banjo lines up the Appalachian mountains; redemptive noise soaks everything, like thick air wafting from the Atlantic. Clawhammer banjo and strummed acoustics lock and roll with electric guitars and electronic textures. They realize that folk implies deep, personal, intense expression, whether the instrument is a parlor piano with the lid thrown back or a distortion pedal with the case cracked loose. In this band, orthodoxy and unorthodoxy flow together as one.