Friday, February 18th, 2011
Dragon Vs Dust
Review of The Megaphonic Thrift’s Decay Decoy
Magne SandnesOriginality is an important trait, no question about that, but sometimes slavish imitation can be alright too, particularly when it explores a sound or style that’s not already been strip-mined to death and is done well. And so it is that Norway’s Megaphonic Thrift get a pass for their debut album Decay Decoy, released in Norway last Spring and due out in North America on March 8.
When I saw the band at SxSW 2010, their ’90s alt.guitar rock influences, in particular Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, were clearly audible even through the massive wall of sound and feedback. Despite the obviousness of what they did, I appreciated that they were able to effectively channel the melodicism of their forebears as well as their penchant for instrument abuse – often acts are so intent on the latter, they lose sight of the former.
If there’s any surprise about Decay Decoy, it’s how clean-sounding it is. Any shoegazing references that their live show might have encouraged must be put away when you hear just how much clarity and separation there is in the recording. Guitars still rage and shriek, but they don’t spill all over everything else and leave the bass, drums and vocals refreshingly unobscured. And with frontman Richard Mykleburst so high in the mix, one thing becomes very clear – this band loves Sonic Youth, specifically early DGC-era Sonic Youth, when they were at their poppiest. His voice is tighter and less drawl-y than Thurston Moore’s and bassist Linn Frokedal’s singing is far more polished than Kim Gordon’s ever was, but the dynamic between the two has more than a few echoes of alt.rock’s first couple – I’m guessing that’s not by accident. Nor did it just happen that “Candy Sin” sounds like a cover of “Silver Rocket” changed just enough to not involve the lawyers…
Understand that none of this is calling the band out or even criticizing them – they’re clearly comfortable broadcasting their influences and the thrill they’re getting out of making music like that which they love is obvious in the enthusiasm with which it’s done. Originality is good, but it really all comes down to the tunes and those, The Megaphonic Thrift have.
Radiohead have decided that working for the weekend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and rather than release their new album The King Of Limbs tomorrow, as originally promised, they’ve turned on the download link for those who pre-ordered it as of right now. And they’ve released a new video. So those of you who were hoping to not have their Twitter/Facebook/RSS feeds turn into all Radiohead, all the time until tomorrow… sorry.
Video: Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”
Ellie Goulding’s March 27 Canadian debut has been moved from The Great Hall to The Phoenix.
Stream: Shugo Tokumaru / Port Entropy