Megafauna

Maximalist (Danimal Kingdom)

Phases & Stages

Honing its vision to a skin-flaying edge on third long-player Maximalist, Austin threesome Megafauna blends genres the way a good cook melds ingredients. Dani Neff employs multiple genre-licious ingredients to make each track simultaneously punchy, complex, and catchy, while her prodigious six-string technique shines brighter than the sun. In a town full of guitar wizards, she's the philosopher's stone. Better still, her shred's in thrall to her maturing songsmithery. "This Town" floats atop Zack Humphrey's tricky time signature and bassist Greg Yancey's busy thrumming, but Neff's licks catch the ear and spin your head. "Hug From a Robot" and "Haunted Factory" kiss the prog frog with more tongue than other cuts, but showcase memorable melodies as much as knuckle-cracking riffs. "Touch the Lion" rides rumbling grunge spiked with fretboard burning, but the point isn't to marvel at Neff's skill so much as play air guitar along with it. Not everything sets the table for smorgasbord; "Time to Go" dispenses with foofaraw to just rock the fuck out, while "Carnie Girl" kicks away the frills and strips all the way down to its skivvies. No matter how finger-busting the hook or knotty the rhythm, Megafauna's Maximalist keeps the spotlight where it belongs – not the head but the heart.

****

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