The three-piece-turned-four-piece began in 2019 and features Alie Lynch (bass and vocals), Dan On (lead guitar), Nir Av-Gay (drums), and Gal Av-Gay (rhythm guitar). Veterans of the Vancouver’s music community, each member brings a sonic taste from their other projects: Supermoon, Non La, Maneater, and DUMB among others. Prior to the pandemic, Megamall had gigged extensively around their city and along the Pacific Northwest, including opening for DYGL, Andy Human and the Reptoids, and local favourite Devours.
Though “Escape from Lizard City” is their first EP, they bring the experience and musical self-assuredness of more established acts. Their sound is characterized by melodic yet blasting guitars; driving basslines; upbeat drums; and playful, varied vocals.
When they aren’t playing music, you can probably find them eating or maybe sleeping or participating in one of their personal interests which collectively include: absorbing media, cooking/baking, swords, almost buying things online then backing out at the last second, buying things online, reading, laughing, and philosophizing.
What lurks in your brain’s shadows? In its cluttered gutters, its self-sabotaging alleyways? What sewer-dwelling reptilian is plotting its revenge through your synapses? Through fuzzed out riffs, idiosyncratic vocals and relentless pop earworms, Megamall examine these very questions on their debut EP, Escape from Lizard City. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes, these six songs’ brevity belie their sagacity creating an eclectic collection of alternative pop.
Inspired by American novelist Tom Robbins’ concept of the reptilian brain in Jitterbug Perfume (“When we are in a cold sweat, a blind rage, or simply feeling smugly dispassionate, we may be sure that, for the moment, our reptile brain is in control of our consciousness”), Escape from Lizard City is an album full of unreliable narrators. Megamall does a deep dive through maladaptive reactions (jealousy, resentment, and ol' fashioned egomania), inflating them into life-sized caricatures ripe for examination.
Lyricist Alie Lynch communicates in lines that are often tongue-in-cheek, purposefully clueless and casually overwrought. Through allusions to various horror movies (notably Tremors), “The Bug” investigates unnecessary martyrdom and destructive patterns, with lines like “I’ll be the bug this time/ I don’t mind crawling in the dirt”, all while balancing a disco-friendly rhythm section and soaring chorus. The pure powerpop opening track, “With Abandon”, highlights the desire to pick up and run, always on the verge of getting it together but never actually doing it while “Playing the Part” transforms from a blatant nod to Pixies-style 90s alternative rock to a frenzied, harmonized apostrophe regarding unrequited love-turned-obsession, asking “how come when you tell me that you wish that you could stay/ you’re already half-way to the car?”. There is a connective string of playful rumination across all the tracks, a sense of dramatic irony that separates the listener from the narrator.
Lead guitarist Dan On provides the shrieking, fuzzed-out riffs that cement Megamall as deeply under the influence of early Mitski and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, while Nir Av-Gay provides the rumbling, upbeat drums. Rhythm guitarist Gal Av-Gay was added during a mid-pandemic mixing frenzy, filling in the space with buried riffs. Lynch’s bass playing is driving and her vocals lie somewhere in the valley between Heather Lewis (Beat Happening) and Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries).
While the album’s narrators may never escape Lizard City, Megamall is confident its listeners will.