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REVIEW: The Megaphonic Thrift – Decay Decoy (2010 Hype City Recordings)

Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk.

The Megaphonic Thrift are an enigma to the extent that their references are so forced as to pigeonhole them unfairly. Take these as given: “It’s the new project from the guy from the Casiokids.”[1] (yes, Fredrik Vogsborg is a founding Casioist), “Their name’s from Guided By Voices”[2] or “Their name makes me think of The Polyphonic Spree.” (they certainly share a certain psychadelia with both), and when we’re talking about their music, they sound “like… uhhh… My Bloody Valentine[3][4] or Sonic Youth[4]… kinda.” (Yes, they’re a little noisy) Fine, that’s done. Now forget all that.

The Megaphonic Thrift make lo-fi noise-pop. They create hypnotic backdrops, layer sublime melodies over the top, and then experiment with dynamics and noise. This experimentation is kept in check both by the lo-fi setting and a remarkable talent for song-writing. It’s engrossing without being grandoise, it’s catchy without being cliché, and yes, it’s psychadelic, shoegazy and noisy without a moment’s pastiche.

All you need to do is listen to album opener ‘Undertow’, and within the first minute, you’re in their world. The guitars screech and wail noisily, until the song drops into it’s groove, guitars and melody drooped lazily over the engine room. Then all they do is have some fun – building energy relentlessly, ‘lead’ guitar lines crunching and squealing playfully when given a moment.

Album highlight Candy Sin is another superb example of their talent. It starts noisy and messy, drums smashing, guitars chugging, scraping and squealing. You might say it was huge, if it wasn’t for it’s remarkable ability to remain lo-fi. All this leads, both unexpectedly and inevitably, into a surging alt-rock bounce that spars with the opening barrage for a few cycles, until the barrage engulfs the song, the barrage wins. From the wreckage, a melody emerges, hypnotic. This is a feedback loop, and the energy is only going one way. Things build to a climax, and I needn’t tell you what comes back. This is superb songwriting, and it’s effortless.

Because they’ve done things so well, the comparisons work against them. Ignore them. They are more lively, more detailed, more intriguing than the long line of possible comparisons would have you believe.

Decay Decoy
is on Spotify now. Listen to it.

James TAE

By James TAE

James TAE is a Music and Tech Journalist, Editor for Spotisfaction, and writer for God Is In The TV and London Tour Dates magazine. Follow him @James_TAE

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