If falling in love had a sound, it would pale in comparison to the romantic saxophone melodies and wistful electric guitar on “Renovate.”
The multigenre Omaha band “Magū” is set to release its newest and dreamiest EP on Feb. 7, blessing listeners with four songs from a live studio performance that are sure to entrance. Magū prides itself on its ability to skip across style barriers, and “Renovate” validates those boasts. The four-song collection combines elements of rock and jazz to create a kaleidoscope of ambient inflections liable to make listeners feel the sting of Cupid’s arrow.
Listening to “Never Want,” the first track on the EP, is like being whisked to sleep by the soft notes of a saxophone, while band member David McInnis’ vocals echo from the other side of reality. The lyrics are minimalistic, and the only line, “I never want you to fade away,” is softly repeated throughout the song. This leaves ample room for the band to show off its instrumental prowess.
A powerful performance is provided by each member, but Cameron Thelander’s saxophone virtuosity shines through. Few instruments can be more amorous and passionate than the sax. Its performance, consequently, is a make-or-break for the EP. Luckily, Thelander delivers mightily.
In contrast to the affectionate “Never Want,” an angsty, punk energy follows the first tune through the second track, “Remain The Same.” If the first song conveys the butterflies of infatuation after a first meeting, then “Remain The Same” is a fitting illustration of the frustration of unknown romantic feelings or unreciprocated affection. Anyone ever to shout in defeat, mourning the pitfalls of their love life, will resonate with the song’s exasperated vocals.
A highlight of “Remain The Same” is the impressive riffage guitarist John Staples conjures, powerfully shredding until the song climaxes into a symphony of reverberation. Staples’ solo at the end of the track wraps up the fury and outrage in a psychedelic bow.
With the frustration out of Magū’s system, the band is able to move on with “Glad I’m Not In Love,” the crown jewel of the EP.
The offbeat tone of “Glad I’m Not In Love” makes the track an adorable serenade. At this point in the EP, Magū is past the point of infatuation and frustration and has come to terms with the deepness of its affections.
The song sounds like an intimate high school prom slow dance — granted that prom’s DJ has an affection for prog rock. As listeners sway along to Staples’ endearing but purposely strained tenor vocals, the skippy intro intensifies into a passionate, heavy instrumental sequence.
The ballad has a catchy hook, sure to be an instant earworm. It might be an unconventional love song due to Staples’ quirky singing, but it’s arguably the best of the four, bridging the distance created by the different genres represented by encompassing elements of each.
To conclude the EP, the band delivers a powerful piece that can only be described as rhythmic matrimony. With a faithful and steadfast performance, Magū produces “Time & Space.”
The final track is a proper demonstration of the band’s abilities and it does not disappoint. “Time & Space” is not the most outlandish or distinctive piece on the EP, but it offers more impressive riffs from Staples and a robust beat that makes even the energetic “Remain The Same” sound leisurely.
“Renovate” captures the diversity of the band’s talents as well as its fervor. The EP is as much an impressive musical feat as it is a melodic love story — ending with a ceremonial commitment to genre-bending music.
Listen to “Renovate” here:
"Renovate" encompasses many different styles due to its multiple writers and collectively intricate creative process. Its fruition has taken us on a sonic ride through fulfilling soundscapes and unexpected obstacles. After months of regrouping and experimental song-writing we spontaneously decided to record this self produced, live studio album.
This article was modified at 1:14 a.m. on Feb. 6 to correct the singer of "Glad I'm Not In Love."