What do you do when your entire set of equipment is destroyed in a fire? Pedals that have been made especially for your use, one-offs, guitars set to specific tunings, altered in ways that are forgotten over time up in flames? More to the point, what do you do when you are about to record your debut album when the fire strikes?
In the case of The Megaphonic Thrift, one of the hits of last year’s by:Larm Festival and already with a select following in the UK after the release of debut EP Thousand Years Of Deconstruction, you take it as a positive and, with the help and support of your fellow musicians in Norway’s hotbed of musical innovation that is Bergen, you borrow and lend and twist your sound into a new direction. You see it as a positive.
Whether Decay Decoy, the debut album that came out of this cathartic experience, would have been similar without the influence of the flames we will never know but what we can say with conviction is that the end result suggests more bands should perhaps torch everything they own and start again before entering the studio.
It may help that The Megaphonic Thrift approach to songwriting is less than traditional. Rather than entering a studio with a set of demos that are then honed to perfection, this is a band that, like their forebears and influences on the New York No Wave scene and the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Krautrock, Dinosaur Jr and more, see the melody as a starting point for the song rather than the key determinant. Thus the roar of ‘Talks Like A Weed King’ or the breakdowns and headlong push of ‘Candy Sin’ were not sculpted on an acoustic guitar in a demo room but came out of deconstructing and reconstructing ideas within Duper Studios in Bergen where the album was recorded as lead singer Richard Myklebust explains:
"We've always been at our most creative when we go in the studio together to create, so we don´t focus that much on having all the song ready for takes and all that. It's more about having an idea without any particular direction, then you see where it takes you. We try to always keep the good melody, even though we can get carried away with more brutal sounds."
The Megaphonic Thrift came into being in 2007 when Richard’s previous band, Stereo 21, had split. Recruiting Feddi from Casiokids on drums he was then blown away by a show by Linn and Njal’s band The Low Frequency In Stereo. Once Linn was in place on bass she persuaded her fellow band member to join The Megaphonic Thrift on guitar. Having released the ‘Acid Blues’ / ‘Mad Mary’ 7” in 2008, the band continued to find fans with 2010 bringing acclaimed shows across the globe from by:Larm in their native Norway to Texas’ SXSW, the UK’s The Great Escape and Standon Calling, Berlin’s Popkomm and the Netherland’s Eurosonic.
Encapsulating and visceral live, it is little wonder that these shows and a UK support tour with A Place To Bury Strangers led to praise across the board with Spinner describing them as ‘jaw-dropping’ whilst The Fly fell head over heels for their intense performances suggesting ‘it's a struggle to recall a band more fragmentary and frazzled since early, melting-before-your-eyes-era Mercury Rev’.
Official Website www.themegaphonicthrift.com