Twinkling, jangly guitars, yelped vocals and lyrics about anxiety are all readily available on London indie-punk act Megaflora’s debut mini-album ‘Redwoods’, demonstrating a keen understanding of a typical emo/indie formula that has stood the test of time, and never more so than in recent years. What they don’t manage is any truly interesting take on this formula. The songs here are dying for something more dynamic; a riff or a vocal hook that engages the listener and keeps their attention. Instead the result feels lacking in anything truly noteworthy, falling somewhere between Tawny Peaks and Martha without quite matching the appeal of either – though to warrant such a comparison suggests promise.
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Despite a few catchy lines and upbeat, singalong moments, ‘Redwoods’ falls just short of enough staying power to encourage repeated listens. One might find themselves struggling to remember any significant moments in its seventeen-minute runtime beyond the admittedly infectious “I’m so anxious” line in most recent single and album closer ‘Anxious’. The whole thing seems to pass too quickly, most of the songs being relatively indistinguishable from one another.
All this notwithstanding, in the moment ‘Redwoods’ is an enjoyable listen. It’s bouncy, cheery and inherently danceable. The dual male/female vocals are balanced well, each managing to complement the other at key moments without sounding gimmicky. Lyrically the songs deal primarily with issues of anxiety, well-worn territory in this genre, though between an unfailingly chipper rhythm section and the lively twin vocals they manage to avoid the traps of being either too schmaltzy or overbearingly maudlin.
Ultimately this is a reasonably promising debut. ‘Redwoods’ is a statement of intent, being an arguably good example of an emo/indie-punk record. However, in a musical climate inundated with releases showcasing the same style, it lacks enough texture and conviction to stand out from the crowd. Megaflora do what they do well, but their next effort will need more to make it stick.