Mega Bog: End of Everything

On End of Everything, Mega Bog offers up a cohesive set of songs that find the project’s founder, Erin Birgby, reveling in her often-cryptic lyrical poetry wherein she ponders, among other things, lightness and darkness, loneliness and togetherness, and sleeping and waking. Although Birgby’s cast of collaborators on her eighth full-length are largely the same as that of her 2021 effort, Life, and Another, the eight songs presented here, while topically different from track to track, feel more connected to one another stylistically, utilizing a synthpop heart to drive blood through an art pop body. While the stale smooth jazz trappings of her previous work aren’t completely gone, they’re at least kept to a minimum and used sparingly, which helps this new album to sound fresh and alive in a way Life, and Another didn’t.

If you’d first heard End of Everything’s opener, “Cactus People”, in a public setting amidst a mix of retro and contemporary pop, you may have easily dismissed it as an overlooked new wave number from the eighties. The synthesizer-heavy song makes for a perky inauguration, one with an effective chorus that has Birgby singing, “I want to leave tonight, should I just sleep tonight, don’t leave tonight.” The album’s first single, “The Clown”, is a standout moment where Birgby utilizes her vocals to great theatrical effect before launching into a soaring, gorgeously full-throated chorus. End of Everything takes a turn into experimental pop with the quirky “Don’t Doom Me Now”, a curious track that intersperses subtle, oddly feline-like sound effects with layered synths. The song fades out in the last minute with just a pinch of saxophone and echoed oohs and ahs that punctuate the end of the album’s first half.

Side B of End of Everything opens with “All and Everything”, a song that features grandiose keyboards following a dramatic chord structure. The track comes across like something a seventies prog band may have utilized to conjure medieval imagery in the mind of the listener. With its inclusion of a spoken-word moment and a choir chanting the song’s title, ultimately working up to a horrific, literally screaming end, the song is a bit too on the nose. The record’s penultimate number, “Complete Book of Roses”, helps to keep attention with an intermittent, dynamic, stabbing lead line and some decent percussion and solo guitar interplay. Birgby’s emoting here is an excellent fit as she effectively expresses both anguish and desperation as she hoarsely cries, “I wanted out, but I wanted, now.”

End of Everything’s title track is also the record’s closer. The song starts slowly and gently and, with its wistful piano, is reminiscent of Patti Smith’s “Free Money”. Unlike Smith’s song, however, Mega Bog never picks up the pace. Instead, the song becomes appropriately funereal as the music sways back and forth with Birgby, as if singing a baby to sleep, repeats, “The end of all, the end of everything.” While End of Everything does have its weak spots, it’s a marked improvement from its predecessor. And although its conspicuously overly dramatic moments can sometimes be jarring, the album’s songs are well sequenced and never feel entirely disparate.

Rating: 7.2/10

Listen on Apple Music

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