In 2008 Dani Neff formed the Austin-based hard rock trio Megafauna. Having released a new album every two years since 2010, their fourth album, Welcome Home, is the newest addition to their catalogue. Instead of following in the wake of their third album Maximalist, with its remorseless riffs and unrepentant hardness, this new undertaking explores and builds upon the sounds that came from their sophomore record, Surreal Estate. With Dani Neff’s airy vocals and excellent guitar playing, the album could be described as Cream fronted by Bjork playing a tribute to King Crimson.
The album begins excellently with the first single “Desire”. Neff sings sweetly over warbling guitar effects while she picks individual notes on the electric until after a minute the whole song seems to distort and the percussion section joins to create a cadenced punch that carries throughout the rest of the track. Not giving the listener a chance to recover, the second song “Doubt” is the heaviest song on the album. A catchy guitar riff blares out and is shortly taken up by bassist Will Krause. “Hogs Out” is another great example of a heavier song on the album with its odd time signatures and pummeling riffs. However, this particular track is interspersed with sections of quieter moments before launching back into the fray.
Most of the album finds itself in a more space-rock and intimate feel. The appropriately named “Interlude” is chock-full of spacey guitar effects while the rhythm section pounds out a hypnotic beat that the song would make Wayne Coyne proud. “Panpsychist” with its distorted bass line and tribal drums mesmerizes with its hard-pop sound. One of the most intimate sounding songs on the album is “It’s So Simple”, which is mostly a shoe-gaze song yet doesn’t feel out of place with the rest of the album. As a whole, Welcome Home has its share of upbeat pop sounding songs as well; “Keep Learning the Same Thing” starts out sounding like a funky pop song and then adds another layer with a Queens Of The Stone Age style guitar/drum riff taking over.
In total, this newest album from Megafauna brings together styles that have been utilized on their past releases, yet it creates something that is entirely new for them. The pacing of tracks is such that it stays well balanced and keeps the listener engaged. Not only does it represent their most ambitious album to date, it is also their best.