Mega Bog's intoxicating pop music has a learning curve, sounding slightly off-centre at first but becoming more and more irresistible as time goes on. The whispered vocals, barely strummed chords and skittering drums often sound like they've been produced from the other end of a church, but they usually envelop into something full-bodied and striking. There are conventional indie pop moments, sudden offerings of jazz bluster and signs of the avant-garde in 'Gone Banana'.
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If the seas of chillwave overflowed and the beach sands got a little muddy, I would blame Mega Bog. Champions of violent holidays and imperfect good times, they offer up ‘Gone Banana’ as if it were a sacrifice to the sunglass-wearing chilltime God. It’s a summer riddle that promises the genre’s sweet throwback vibe -- with edifying guitar riffs that sound as dated as the sun in the sky, along with jams slow and disinterested enough to belong to a post-rock Mac Demarco -- while feeling strangely, disastrously off-kilter. It may well be the work of a nu-jazz band high on Talk Talk. Maybe some real drugs, too.
‘Gone Banana’ starts with a blustery exchange of the most doomed and fucked beach sounds you’ll ever hear: the wind howling, seagulls screaming their hearts out, and a tourist talking about her holiday town like it’s the same place Franz Kafka visits in The Castle. The scene dissolves into a terse, syncopated sax motif that goes from quiet to loud in seconds, eventually landing on one of those crystalline guitar riffs that’s supposed to make everything okay -- but ‘Gone Banana’ has long-since become a record about the tension you can find in pretty places. Erin Birgy’s lyrics are too dense and dour to be captured in a standard pop song, and matched with her vocal -- a mischievously serene voice that rivals Cate Le Bon’s -- her words spill over bars and ignore the conventions of rhyme. It’s the kind of poetic undertow that Dan Bejar perfected on ‘Kaputt’ -- like hearing someone try and sing karaoke but ad libbing a few of their own thoughts because they can’t stop themselves from pointing out the world’s flaws.
‘Gone Banana’ is a delightfully warped record, each sound forced slightly out of place to best represent the wicked smirk on Birgy’s face: her lyrics are those of a surrealist expert leading a band of surrealist learners, like Beefheart plus band -- amidst the gooey synth of “Gone Banana” she sings “I’ve got a boyfriend, he is sixteen thousand, three hundred and seventy five miles away”, letting the words slide out in an endless, uninterrupted stream. The best moment comes on the inappropriately titled “Chilidog”, though, a track measured out in booming basslines and disorientated sax that’s screaming out for a saviour. ‘Gone Banana’ promises this kind of sinister, low-key sadness through its runtime, but usually opts for the twee theatrics and the silly end of the spectrum. It’s here that Mega Bog sound best: when the nostalgia becomes a problem, not an excuse.
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