Watch ME REX’s video for “Galena,” featuring the album’s accompanying tarot card deck
One of the year's most unique albums is Megabear by UK indie band ME REX, a song cycle made up of 52 tracks that range from 30-60 seconds that's intended to be shuffled and sound like a cohesive album no matter what order you hear it in. An excerpt of our review:
[It] might sound gimmicky on paper, but it's not in the slightest. The album really does work that way, and that it sounds so natural is nothing short of an artistic triumph. The idea isn't totally absurd; when Brian Wilson was working on his storied masterpiece Smile, he mentioned that he had multiple pieces of music on the cutting board, and he tried out various ways of piecing it all together. ME REX did something similar, but instead of forcing themselves to choose between all the different possibilities, they presented the album in a way where you'll eventually hear every one. It makes for a listening experience that's a little bit different each time, but always familiar. It's also not unlike hearing the ways different songs bleed together at live shows compared to on studio albums. What's most interesting, though, is how accessible the album sounds despite seeming so daunting to listen to. The premise may seem like a brainy musician exercise, but the music is lush and emotive indie pop and Myles McCabe's voice and lyrics really tug at the heartstrings.
When the album was initially released, before it hit streaming services, the only way to hear it was in a widget on the band's website, which auto-shuffled the album and came with a tarot card-themed visualizer. The band are also selling an accompanying pack of tarot cards (each one representing one of the album's tracks), and they've made a video for the album's single "Galena," which shows off the deck. The four-minute "Galena" is a sample of the album that the band put together as a (technically non-album) single, and here's what band leader Myles McCabe told us about the video:
The idea of representing the album as a deck of cards was one that I came up with before we had considered that this project might get a release on traditional formats. It developed out of the idea that the album could be represented in the style of an illuminated manuscript. This was to fit with the concept of this album as a guide to divination or transformation. I felt like the songs should be presented in a way that was entirely unprescriptive and so the book was disassembled into a deck of cards.
The cards were designed by Jono Ganz who interpreted the idea in a way that really added depth to the deck, the cover art and the project as a whole.
ME REX -- 2021 Tour Dates
Sept 02-05 Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire UK @ End Of The Road Fest
Nov 10 Bristol @ The Crofters Rights
Nov 11 Manchester @ The Star & Garter
Nov 13 Glasgow @ Stag & Dagger Fest
Nov 14 Edinburgh @ Stag & Dagger Fest
Nov 15 Leeds @ Hyde Park Book Club
Nov 16 Birmingham @ Hare & Hounds V2
Nov 25 London @ The Lexington