Mega Gem

Colours Of The West

Written by: TL on 26/03/2013 15:49:23

Mega Gem, in the relatively likely event you haven't heard of them, are an artist collective from Denver which counts so many members on its bandcamp that I would get arthritis in my hands before I'd get done listing them here. What's funny is that either there's a formula for making music in this kind of constellation, or else there's some serious coincidence going on, considering how much the band's recent album "Colours Of The West" reminds me of the similar (but sadly defunct) project Boris Smile. It's like some hippie community of all sorts of singers and musicians coming together to make bubbly, light-hearted, alternative folk/pop/rock, that sounds all innocent and friendly - a bit like a musical equivalent of a birthday party for children, with balloons and bouncing castles and everything.

If you've ever hosted parties with the "there's always room for one more" ethic, you know that this approach can sometimes lead to a rather excessive clutter however, and this somewhat accurately describes the duality of the elated all-inclusiveness of "Colours Of The West". If you're looking for the upsides however, then I suggest checking out the disc's highlight tracks "Plans For The Future" and "The Right Thing To Do". The former boasts a symphonic guitar/horn fanfare for a signature, before breaking down into a quirky little verse that showcases the Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou) -ish main vocals, and eventually ramping up to an almost cacophonic, climax of happy-clappy positivity. Sandwiching the other side of the child-sung centrepiece "Mia's Sing-Along" we find "The Right Thing To Do", which again stands out by actually managing a nice dynamic between a calm beginning and a brilliant display of guitar-fireworks lighthing things up towards the end. Add the catchy-go-lucky melody of "Onions" and you have the three songs which, along with the adorable - if somewhat off-tune - contribution of Mia in her "Sing-Along", will likely be the songs I'm most prone to remember and recognise if I come back to "Colours Of The West" in the future.

Outside of those five choices, things are a bit hit and miss if you ask me, and I think the criticism I have for "Colours Of The West" is more consistently evident here: Namely that their "more is more" approach to arrangements can force songs into places that doesn't always feel natural or efficient - like the band is rushing to the point where they can get everybody involved, whether that's really a treat to the listener or not. In keeping with my birthday party analogy, you might not be in the mood to be at such a party, if for instance you were coming home from work with a mounting headache. Similarly, "Colours Of The West" is probably a bit 'too much' to be a good listen on such occasions. But on the opposite occasions, when everybody else seems like negative nancies compared to yourself, Mega Gem might be just the band to turn to, for a healthy doze of reckless, noisy fun.

Download: Onions, Plans For The Future, The Right Thing To Do
For The Fans Of: Boris Smile, mewithoutYou, Battle Creek, The Wild, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Listen: facebook.com/megagemdenver

Release Date 19.10.2012
Wild Baby Records

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