Since 2009, Seattle's Erin Birgy has led the mutating group Mega Bog, which originally started jamming together after a group swimming trip. The project's thoroughly Aquarian origins are evident in its weird and comforting wooze, which unites the jazzy ease of Chicago's The Sea And Cake with dub's slippery mysticism and lackadaisical guitar solos that unspool like lava-lamp bubbles.
The title of "Fwee," the first track to be taken from Mega Bog's excellent second album, Happy Together, echoes the liberationist vibe of the West Coast's hippie heyday, though Birgy isn't preaching blithe anti-establishment optimism. "Fwee is a word we use in honor of the playful freedom that comes back when you accept the loving community you birthed yourself into," she tells NPR. "In the song, fweedom returns after having been consumed in a period of trauma and abuse, and a joyful new leaf to follow."
"Fwee" is a two-minute snippet as slight as its name, and it feels like a tentative first flush of relief. Evoking a soothsaying Laura Marling or a spacey Nico, Birgy hesitates over each of her opening words: "How could I have known," she sings, as if she were tiptoeing between rocks in a river. But then she melts into her epiphany ("There's a person out there who means me no harm") and her surprisingly fleet-footed seven-piece evokes a classic-rock band blissing out by a glimmering shoreline. Idly hypnotic guitar and deep vocal harmonies toy with the intensity, until "Fwee" makes literal Birgy's observation that "Fweedom is certainly useful / Pouring love in a musical being." The song cracks open, allowing backmasked slivers of guitar and wriggling solos to flood out — a new tributary finding its path.
Happy Together comes out Feb. 3 on Nicey Music.