ME REX - Megabear Music Album Reviews

ME REX - Megabear Music Album Reviews
The London band’s full-length debut is an audacious experiment: 52 short snippets of rippling pianos and synthesized symphonics that can be shuffled in any order to create one continuous song.

Not since the Flaming Lips spread Zaireeka across four discs has an album required instructions as badly as ME REX’s Megabear. Rather than draft another batch of the punchy, immediate songs that made the London quartet’s 2020 Triceratops and Stegosaurus EPs such a kick, the group’s debut full-length is an audacious experiment: 52 short song snippets, all of them in a similar key and time signature so they can be shuffled in any order to create one continuous song with no beginning or end. It’s a true Choose Your Own Adventure experience; Sufjan Stevens could never.

So how do you even listen to this thing? The band has created a website that will do the shuffling for you, guaranteeing a different song order every time. The album is also available on streaming services with a fixed tracklist that frontman Myles McCabe insists is arbitrary, and as a vinyl record sold with an optional deck of 52 cards, each representing a song, that can be drawn at random to determine a track order.

Like a board game with too many pieces, you have to spend a little bit of time to get the hang of it, but with few exceptions, these song segments really do blend seamlessly into each other. Pieced together from rippling pianos and synthesized symphonics with occasional surprise beats and choral accents, they’re rousing and varied, teasing huge ideas within quick, 32-second packages. When it works and the songs feed into each other just right, it’s exhilarating.

But, of course, it doesn’t always work. Depending on luck of the draw, the experience can also be frustrating and disjointed, and sometimes gratingly repetitive. McCabe’s biggest miscalculation was repeating several lyrical refrains—sometimes you can’t get through more than a few tracks without him singing “the party’s never over” or “I want a river to run through me.” Between that and the constant stop-and-start of hearing a new song every half minute or so, Megabear burns fast. The more you listen to it, the quicker the magic wears off.

McCabe is a graduate of the Los Campesinos! school of verbose, trenchant turns of phrase that land like blows to the gut. That prose shined on ME REX’s 2020 EPs, but here it takes a backseat to the concept. Megabear’s best ideas beg to breathe, to be built and expanded on, to graduate into completed songs. But most of these tracks are saplings that never get the chance to grow. It’s not for nothing that the record’s best track, “Lead,” with its vivid depiction of environmental and mental infirmity, is also one of the record’s longest at 66 seconds: It’s the closest to being a standalone piece.

There’s another way to engage with Megabear: You can make your own songs by sliding a few standout tracks into a playlist and shuffling them around until they make sense. Here’s what I came up with: “Lead,” followed by the album’s other great song about compromised nature, “Ancient Ash,” chased with the aching “God of Rain” and closed out dramatically by “Reclaimed From the Water.” It’s a rare album that invites that level of participation. Yet I still wish the work had been done for me; there’s an optimal sequence for this music, and the album denies it to us. Megabear is a unique and innovative concept piece that suggests lofty questions about intentionality and artists’ agency. But a regular 12-song album with a beginning, middle, and end probably would have been more satisfying.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
ME REX - Megabear Music Album Reviews ME REX - Megabear Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 18, 2021 Rating: 5


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