Album Review: Megawave – Rainbow Heartache

Megawave are a New York, USA-based alternative rock act who formed in 2015. Over the past six years, they’ve shared stages with I Fight Dragons, MC Lars and Slingshot Dakota and been featured on a compilation with Taking Back Sunday and York Calling favourite Ryan Cassata. Their new album has recently been released and it’s called Rainbow Heartache.

By Graeme Smith

Feature Photo by Dani Sacco Photography

It’s difficult to pigeonhole Megawave’s sound. There’s definitely a core of rock to it, but added to it is electronic elements, folky lyrics and touches of rap. Rainbow Heartache’s opening track Mood Poisoning is a brilliant case in point. Featuring Laurieanne Creuss, it’s an explosive introduction to the album, and underneath the style there is substance of the relatable lyrics.

It’s closely followed by a second collaboration, Slow Motion featuring Chris Songco. It’s a dreamy indie rock ballad that showcases a whole different side of Megawave’s sound. Frontwoman Michi Turk’s delicate vocals perfectly suit the style and the guitar melody in the chorus is a real earworm.

Previous single Retrograde comes next, with elements of troubadour and spaghetti western in its echoing guitar soundscape. The percussion is lively and the vocals emotive. Then it’s Sozin’s Comet, a high-energy prog-rock odyssey as inspired by the cartoon Avatar The Last Airbender as by Rage Against The Machine. Personally, I detected traces of The Fall of Troy in its guitar noodling too.

As the album enters its second half, we’re greeted by the unexpectedly Latin-infused Projector. With more guitar noodling and dark and cathartic lyric, it’s a real highlight. The short and meditative interlude of I Will Begin Again comes next, allowing us to pause for breath before the cosmic prog-pop-rock blunderbuss Saturn Return.

The album’s penultimate track The Rules is pleading piece of jazzy dream pop and another collaboration, this time with instrumentalist Kmoy. Things are then brought to a close by the palate-cleansing Daydream. Just when you think you’ve got to grips with Megawave’s sound, it subverts your expectations by being gently acoustic.

Such is the way of Megawave’s sound. They are constantly pushing their genre boundaries. Rainbow Heartache is an album that starts out promising and only gets better. It’s certainly the best record I’ve heard for awhile. I hope you’ll agree. You can check it out below.