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Surfing

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Album Review

No record begs to be taken as a joke quite like one that features its two male protagonists fighting naked on the cover (one is raising a knife, the other is going all kung fu). And Megapuss, the not-quite-supergroup formed by Devendra Banhart and Priestbird drummer Gregory Rogove (with help from others including the Strokes' Fabrizio Moretti and Noah Georgeson), have all the flavor of a side project with no expectations — and, usually, no structure or songwriting. But this is a supergroup record in the best sense, where all involved pool their talents to write and perform with no constraints and maximum creativity. Banhart sounds much more relaxed than on his last studio record, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, closer to his bewitching four-track days and often including the same sparse accompaniment and pixilated songwriting. Surprisingly, the songs with a full band provide the best moments here, including the breakout chorus of "Theme from Hollywood" and the loose-limbed funk jam "Crop Circle Jerk '94." As with most supergroup records, not everything works — the politically critical "A Gun on His Hip and a Rose on His Chest" descends limply into claptrap, and "Duck People Duck Man" is most definitely absurd nonsense from an artist who often does nonsense very well. Surfing definitely won't end up on many end-of-year lists, but it's easygoing where Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon was often self-serious, and overall a pleasant diversion for Banhart fans.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Expanding upon his psychedelic-inclined, '70s-styled solo albums, Devendra Banhart recruited Priestbird percussionist Greg Rogove in 2008 for the side project Megapuss. The Los Angeles-based duo premiered in June that year at L.A.'s Hammer Museum. Original material plus an abstract cover of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" were played, but the show became infamous thanks to the huge nude pictures of Devendra that were projected on a screen above the band along with the belt of...
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Surfing, Megapuss
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