Built By Snow – Mega

Built by Snow - Mega

Built by Snow - Mega

Mega isn’t just fun, it’s good music. This 22 minute romp from Built By Snow balls up 8-bit nostalgia and lots of quirky energy into smart pop songs.

A 4 piece from Austin, Texas, the band have a knack for bright instrumentation and smart arrangements. Their sound draws on the new wave leanings and tight sounds of The Cars while baiting the nerd appeal of Weezer. This animated sound was captured well in a local mixing studio and the album was self-released in January.

Mega‘s elephant in the room is the Atari/Nintendo theme. These blips and bloops dance from keyboards, and the arrangements are buffered by extra synths. With all these sounds, Built By Snow border on noise rock. But their music stays cohesive, often converging most effectively during the choruses. At the music’s core are traditional rock instruments: guitar, drums, bass, and vocal. That vocal–like the entirety of Built by Snow’s sound–takes ques from Ric Ocasek of The Cars with bits of Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo.

The band is especially proud of “All the Weird Kids Know”, and they should be. TheĀ  clap along back beats and simplistic lyrics pack a novel appeal: “All the weird kids know how to take it slow, so let’s take it slow”. All in all, the song is not unlike The Cars’ “Dangerous Type”. “A-Beta” plays up the traditional band instruments with an accent on guitar harmonics, crisp drumming, and bouncing bass line. This is Mega‘s best written song; the different parts flow together effectively and make a whole that stays fresh and interesting. The lyrics aren’t too bad either: “While we listened to the sound of everything hitting at once, we should have listened to the sound in our heads when our hearts blew up”.

“Science of Love” just about equals “A-Beta”. Drums and chords hit like a brat declaring his anthem in staccato. It’s a song marked by the album’s most contagious hook, coming at the chorus: “It’s the science of our love (we are magnets)”. But they don’t all come up roses. After an effective intro, “Invaders” runs dry. And this begs the question: How far can a band go using one theme? Nintendo zapped Atari, but it wasn’t long before Sega Genesis replaced Nintendo. Mega‘s weakness is, no doubt, a lack of range. The atmosphere and mood just don’t change much.

But with a total running time of 22 minutes, the band smartly avoids getting stale on their first album. Besides, it’s too soon to think reinvention. For now, Built by Snow’s modus operandi works. Their songs are simplicity all dressed up and they are likely to impress.