Editors' pick

Megafaun and Sharon Van Etten

Indie
'

Editorial Review

MEGAFAUN
Album Review: "Gather, Form & Fly"

There's a good reason Megafaun's second album, "Gather, Form & Fly," sounds like the kind of lo-fi campfire performance that would be embraced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. After all, the three musicians in Megafaun used to play in a folk band with Vernon.

But Megafaun's approach is not so consistently mellow as Bon Iver's. Although "Gather" includes several classic-sounding tunes, such as the lilting "Worried Mind," the group's music is more interesting when it deviates from the straightforward. Some of the vocals midway through "Darkest Hour" may sound like the Byrds, but those harmonies are buried beneath layers of field recordings of subways and dripping water.

With such off-kilter effects, it's not always easy to know whether to take the group seriously. But Megafaun balances its whimsy with a good number of unadorned tunes: The twangy "The Longest Day" highlights a delightful banjo melody and the lovely harmonies of guest artist Christy Smith.

-- Catherine P. Lewis, Weekend (March 2010)