Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., May 27, 2016
"I slough the dead skin off," intones Megafauna singer-shredder Dani Neff on "Desire," first track on Welcome Home. From the formative Larger Than Human (2010) to the exploratory Surreal Estate (2012) and confident Maximalist (2014), the local trio constantly sheds its old epidermis, emerging in the same shape but with a fresh, shiny skin. Neff, drummer Zack Humphrey, and alternating bassists Will Krause and Bryan Wright carefully and enthusiastically compound progressive rock, psychedelia, and post-punk into an amalgam all their own, Megafauna's fourth full-length connecting discordant parts in ways that don't feel slammed together. Bridges emerge at the end of songs instead of the middle and revel in unconventional time signatures that often power the chorus. Off-kilter arpeggios betraying a fondness for King Crimson begin "Don't Ask Questions," but an aggressive, grungy breakdown finalizes it. "Hogs Out" contrasts bottom-heavy thudding with atmospheric pop and Neff's drill-bit guitar soloing. Rock anti-anthems "Doubt" and "Panpsychist," and old-school alt-pop tune "Keep Learning the Same Thing" wield eccentric chord charts that both please and irritate the ear, making the hooks catchy but off-balance at the same time. The closing title track rides a psychedelic progression that never quite resolves, the final guitar slash not ending but decaying in a rainfall-and-chimes coda. As unconventional as the band's work evolves, Neff's voice and six-string tones give it consistency, due in part to her tendency to sing across melody lines rather than with them. Segments that should clash work in harmony, ostensibly easy passages revealing surprise itches. Equal parts challenging and accessible, Welcome Home rewards close attention but works effortlessly as ear candy.