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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 228 - 04/04/15

The Megaphonic Thrift
Sun Stare Sound
YAP Records

The Megaphonic Thrift's second, self-titled album took me by surprise three years ago. Well, it was maybe not a surprise, but I was really taken by the band's sonic groove, as well as their majestic and vibrant appearance. Now, they are back with another solid platter, presenting some more of their magic pop escapades. Come surf their groove.

The Megaphonic Thrift are Richard Myklebust on vocals and guitar, drummer Fredrik Øgreid Vogsborg (who's also a member of Casiokids as well as Young Dreams?), Linn Frøkedal on bass and co-vocals (she is also a member of the excellent The Low Frequency In Stereo as well), and guitarist Njål L. Clementsen (who used to be in The Low Frequency In Stereo, as well -- or, is he still on board?). The quartet sound tight and fresh with their new album. This is melodic and poppy noise rock with a hint of shoegaze. They are experimental and psychedelic, as this is sounding like music perfect for wearing sunglasses. The sound of staring at the sound, or rather, the sound of the reflection of light from the sun on your glasses. If that's not way too abstract and far out. To be short and precise: The Megaphonic Thrift sound good and they sound cool.

The nine tracks on Sun Stare Sound clock in at just under 40 minutes, which is a pre. Short is good. They also manage to present a diverse collection of songs. They can be frantic and energetic, but they do also pause for some breath and afterthought through some more relaxing stretches. The guitars jangle and shimmer while leaning on a steady, bubbling rhythmical backdrop. The combination and variation given with the shifting vocal job between Richard and Linn, who take turns singing lead, is also a success factor or a fitting signature for the band. Their songs pulsate and swirl, the instrumentation is just right and the arrangements is soberly done. The sound of TMT is pale and blurred (as this genre often should be/sound like), yet they sound colourful and strong. They still sound quite fresh with a glowing intensity. At times 'face-meltingly intense', as NME once described them.

The Megaphonic Thrift (TMT) were (still are) inspired by Sonic Youth. I also sense some Blonde Redhead inspiration relation (well, the Italian-Japanese NY Redheads started out many years ago inspired by SY themselves so that makes sense). I guess TMT are tired of the SY reference every time, every album, but it is hard not to mention it. That said, TMT is not a 'copyist' band. Not at all. SY were (are) something different. TMT are themselves. They can also be compared to some shoegaze dream-pop bands of the late 80s/early 90s, such as My Bloody Valentine, The Boo Radleys (from their early years), Lush, and the Pale Saints. Opener "No Sleep, Only Dreams" sort of sums up the musical ethics and aesthetics of TMT, being a frantic, restless drive through blurred landscapes, or dreamscapes. A wide-awake ride through a dreamworld, with snappy drums, stabbing riffs and bubbling basslines. "Blistering Heat", with its laidback pace and 'new wave' tint, colouring or grading (think Wire's late 80s period), is one my favourite tracks from the album, along with the experimental and carefree "Occam's Razor" and the closing "Perfect Twin". Sun Stare Sound will not give you a tan, but its content is somewhat warming, heating despite the melodic and rhythmic chill and cool. The record is good, but I think I prefer their last album over this one.

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