Megafaun have promised a full-sized follow-up to last year's stellar Gather, Form and Fly by year's end, but this six-song appetizer will serve nicely for anyone pining for new material from these North Carolina avant bards. Over the past three years, the band have made a quick career out of juxtaposing musty, misty sing-alongs with trippy audio manipulation.
It's the same story here, though with a more knowing nod to the jaded '60s-'70s wave of troubadours like Dylan and even Springsteen. We get muted drums and dull guitar strings on the empty-roadhouse number "Carolina Days" and a swaying slide-guitar-and-banjo waltz, both without a hint of sound manipulation from any wizard behind the curtain. It's in the longer songs that things start to slide into daydream material.
"Eagles" interrupts a strutting Chuck E. Weiss blues by inviting what sounds like the Lounge Lizards into the studio mid song. "Comprovisation for Connor Pass" starts loose and stays that way for 12 minutes, with spacy, dissonant chords and clusters of deep metallic clanks that sound like the Tin Man rolling around in his sleep while a pit orchestra warms up in the back corner. They may be meandering and even pointless, but there's something in these visceral moments that complements their tidier front-porch material better than ever.