Under Review

Under Review: Escape from Lizard City, Megamall

Samuel Sandri

The usual flow of wandering Blundstones and Arc’Teryx jackets busily occupy the streets of Kitsilano — out of the distance appears a blurry silhouette zooming across the concrete and as the figure approaches, you distinguish a crop-top-and-cargo-pants-with-shinpad-wearing rollerblader. Straight out of the late 90s, an idiom of the past here to galvanize our modern urban landscape, meet our protagonist: Megamall’s new release Escape From Lizard City.

The first song, “With Abandon,” marks this arrival, setting the musical and lyrical themes that will be further explored in the rest of the EP. A quick and bouncy drum beat overlaid by a bassline that efficiently emphasizes the song’s simple yet delicious bubble-gum melodies. The clear zenith of the song is its catchy chorus: “I’ve been running all night.” Carolled by vocalist Alie Lynch, it introduces the restlessness and pressures of a world in constant motion.

In the EP’s single “The Bug,“ we perceive that our blader, at moments, seems on the verge of losing their balance. Upon closer observation, we realize not only that our protagonist is able to stay on their feet, but that the tension between their style and the impending, controlled chaos makes them appear pretty darn cool. The song is characterized by duel surf-pop guitars on the pre-chorus, and by an array of new-wavey rollicking drum patterns. The chorus cuts the turbulent nature of the song, with a dreamy atmosphere constructed by multiple layers of harmonies and a sweet guitar phrase.

“Two-faced” marks a segway to the second half of the EP. Our rollerblader takes a rest in Charleson park and looks out over downtown Vancouver as the sun sets. The rhythm of the EP is slowed down, giving the listener some repose. Though the tempo is slower, the song maintains power and energy despite its contemplative atmosphere. This song announces the arrival of “Want You to Stay”, the penultimate track of the release. Here we perceive a new swiftness to our rollerblader’s orchestration of movement and gestures, as they speed down the hectic and dark streets of downtown. This is the quickest song on the EP and displays Megamall’s capacity of blending punk and low-fi pop with charm and mastery.

Finally “Playing the Part” as well as “First Floor Apartment” assert and embed the band’s characteristic  sound into the listener’s mind — strident guitar sounds, memorable riffs, pop-punk chords, pulsating drum lines, catchy vocals, and of course aethereal harmonies. The image of our rollerblader is now clear, awkwardly running blinking traffic lights with undeniable style.