This second album release from Norwegian 'supergroup' The Megaphonic Thrift follows in the wake of 2011's Decay Decoy and continues to demonstrate great promise (whilst, for me, not quite amounting to an unadulterated success). This rather unadventurously named follow-up is a stylistically more diverse effort than the debut release and this added variation serves to work in the album's favour. Having said this, all the same (apparent) influences audible on Decay Decoy are still here, such as the oft-cited Sonic Youth, but also the likes of Joy Division, Pavement, British Sea Power and (even) Superchunk (a list which closely equates to some of my all-time favourite bands). In addition, though, the band's inclusion of their lighter side, in songs such as I Wanted You To Know and the delightfully airy Spaced Out, bring to mind the more delicate moments from the likes of The Velvet Underground or Yo La Tengo.
There are, in fact, very few (if any) songs here that could be remotely considered duff, and the album kicks off with the (typically) atonal and boisterous Tune Your Mind, followed by the even more impressive Raising Flags. This latter song (currently one of my Thrift favourites) demonstrates this album's notable sonic improvement on Decay Decoy, with Linn Frokedal's bass and Njal Clementsen's guitar more obviously prominent, whilst Fredrick Vogsborg is altogether more animated and dextrous on his drum-kit. In addition, the band are also seen to be more frequently employing some delightful harmony vocals, such as behind the haunting rhythms of Fire Walk With Everyone and during the brilliant interlude in the Joy Division-like Broken Glass/Yellow Fingers. On the other hand, the brilliant Moonstruck opens like something off the (yet to be heard) new British Sea Power album - magnificent bass and lead guitar riffs (and those harmony vocals again). We're back to a powerful drumbeat (reminiscent of Manchester's finest) underpinning Mr Myklebust's determined vocal on The Guillotine, whilst each of the curiously named Over The Mountain, Down In A Teaspoon and Swan Song continue the rich vein of form, the latter an infectious, rhythmic blast (and one of the most immediate songs on the album), whilst the former is a haunting, trance-inducing little gem.
If this band continue on their current trajectory they should just about hit the jackpot next time. Here's hoping, at least.