Megafauna: Love Project EP

If you’re anything like me (which appears highly unlikely) when you saw that Megafauna was playing in town, you thought of these guys. However, Austin’s Megafauna is not the roots-rock-y outfit that North Carolina’s Megafaun is. Instead, Megafauna takes its cues more from modern prog rock and math rock, while remaining fairly accessible. Guitarist/singer Dani Neff moved to Austin from Brooklyn a few years back and founded this power trio, which has toured relentlessly since then. Last month, they released their second EP, Love Project, which is not nearly as warm and fuzzy as the name implies. Instead, it’s a hard-rocking three-song set that confirms this is one of the hottest rock bands in town.

Megafauna - 'This Town'

Love Project kicks off with the frenetic “This Town,” which is representative of the rest of the album by never quite repeating the same thing. Even if the same basic section is repeated, the arrangement changes emphasis, for example, and there are dramatic rhythmic and tempo shifts that keep the listener guessing. In fact, there aren’t really any hooks on this album. There are certainly memorable moments with great riffs or melodic lines, but it’s a journey that keeps you guessing.

At various moments, Megafauna recalls other art-rock, female-fronted collectives, like Deerhoof on “This Town” or a heavier Thao and the Get Down Stay Down on “Scratch at the Latch.” It’s a good legacy to follow in, and Neff nails it well. On the title track, though, Neff solidifies a sound that is very much her own, mixing hard rock with sensuous vocals, colorful chords with rocking riffs, until she has something that is fairly unique. Some credit surely needs to be given to Erik Wofford (Octopus Project, Okkervil River, White Denim, Pure X, Black Angels) and his mixing and mastering job. But Dani Neff and her compatriots have put together compelling songs that only make me want to hear more.

– Carter