I’ve placed Mega Bog’s leader and singer Erin Birgy’s vocal prowess among the greats. Her stream of consciousness lyrics blend with her voice’s celestial wanderings to a T. Birgy’s enigmatic approach, partnered with a ‘stop on a dime’ collection of musicians finds Happy Together (Mega Bog’s second and newest album released in February on Nicey Music), capturing new magic through a cosmic balance of arty experimentalism, jazzy-pop suites, and soul-filled standards. Plus, there’s a mess of saxophone.
“Diznee” begins Happy Together as a saxophone lulls you through a mistaken alley and POW! the band kicks off into a tasty circus jangle with Birgy sneering like the charismatic ringleader who convinced you to purchase tickets in the first place. “TV Mac” shuffles with a masterful bass line, clarinet spells, and honey coated vocal harmonies reminiscence of 70’s AM gold. “Worst Way” has Birgy rhetorically questioning (and affirming) the life choices whilst in the labyrinth surrounded by digitized percussion buzzes and sparse saxophone toots. “Black Out” jams like your favorite spring break anthem with sharply attacking guitars amidst Birgy’s jabbing lines about getting back in the car, continuing the journey.
While the pop-rock chromosomes certainly punctuate Happy Together in a satisfying way, Mega Bog’s deliberate inclusion of dissonant experimental genes in “Black Rose” help construct a topsy-turvy toyshop of sounds. “192014” clinks around with shrieking sax, riffing guitars, and the pulse of a funky bass zipping around like an adolescent zooming in a stolen car. In a sleek and balanced approach, Mega Bog shines brightest when everyone gets a turn.
On repeat listens, Happy Together hints to an amalgam of artists and styles, but mostly I hear Jacqueline Humbert from 1982’s multimedia, monologue-rich Daytime Viewing. Birgy’s vocal flexibility allows her melodies to be wrapped into sharp, spoken verses similar to Humbert’s. As a band, Mega Bog sneezes as one. Birgy is peppered by a great cast of musicians lifting her meanderings on complexities and mundane facets of life into orbit. All sounds, whether large or merely whispered, seem to have been yanked down from the stars, fervently studied, and kept in this earthy realm for our benefit. We are grateful.