Less than a year since the release of their debut album, The Megaphonic Thrift are back with another long player, this time self titled. On Decay Decoy the band seemingly flattered the noise rockers of old, particularly Sonic Youth showing heavy influence or, depending how you look at it, outright imitation. On their latest effort, the Norwegian supergroup (members of Casiokids and The Low Frequency in Stereo) have continued their quest for all things loud, which they have honed to newer, bigger levels. However, this time round there is also some softer and slower numbers that have been added into the mix for good measure.

‘Tune Your Mind’ begins by pummelling the listener with thirty seconds of horrendous feedback and noise over a relentless chang-chang-chang-ing guitar. It is the immediate impression you have of the band and the album, but this is the only real moment where the sound is unbearable. It is like they’ve done this purposefully to get your attention before they present everything else. The song itself is actually pretty good. Once settled, a gruff male vocal enters for the verse before making way for the unexpected turn of a sweet female in the chorus. The band use interchanging male and female vocals throughout the album which adds a freshness to things. They don’t do it enough for it to get tedious and they seem to understand which voice works with which song or section. Singer and guitar Richard Mykleburst sounds a hell of a lot like Interpol’s Paul Banks, especially when he is singing softly. He is not aggressive vocally and this counteracts with when the distortion gets racked up.

‘Raising Flags’ employs duelling Dinosaur Jr. lead guitars over additional droning and squealing guitars. It is again, one of the louder songs on the album and has some great hooks. It is notable that despite the record being heavy it is in no way depressing. n fact there is hardly anything that could be regarded as melancholic on the entire album. Angsty, maybe. ombre, no. ‘Fire Walk With Everyone’ begins with a Sonic Youth-esque riff and an early guitar motif is also used as the refrain line in the vocals. The band like using their guitar riffs as melody lines in their songs, as they do this often. ‘The Guillotine’ is another highly charged number with a tight ascending riff slicing through and heavy shoegaze interludes. Lyrically it toys with the song’s title "you know my love by half, you have the second part." Again, it is a Sonic Youth indebted track.

Both ‘Broken Glass/Yellow Fingers’ and ‘Kill, Breathe and Frown’ appear to be attempts to write longer, more epic tracks. hey are both decent songs, slower in tempo with tons of bite and more variety than other tracks, but I’m not convinced they are the sprawling noise symphonies that the band thinks they are or want them to be.

The softer songs see the band enter unknown territory and allow them to take stock of the situation. ‘I Wanted You To Know’ is an acoustic piece that sounds like The Brian Jonestown Massacre playing a Velvet Underground song. Album closer/bonus track ‘Spaced Out’ is a lovely little ending. Laid back, dreamy and quite rightly spaced out. It would be interesting to see the band go down this road a little more in the future.

The Megaphonic Thrift is a solid piece of work, concise and an enjoyable listen. They’ve definitely progressed from their last record; they are a much more polished outfit, the songs are more subtle and they seem more content with how they go about making their music. Bassist, Linn Frokadel says of the album that "it is like a mirror for what has inspired us since that album [Decay, Decoy] was recorded" which makes complete sense considering there are (obvious) influences abound. Sometimes they walk the line between influence and regurgitation but with this much variety, it is enough to keep the interest flowing. In a live setting I would expect that they can really bring the house down and these songs will certainly translate to that environment.