Review by Sophia Risin. Photos from Mega Mango.
Trying to explain how much in words I love the new Mega Mango EP is like trying to explain the inexplicable urge to look at every sunset from the rooftop on campus. The Philly based band is made up of Crow Costello, Alex Spagnolia, Sam Poll, and Niko Jones and is phruitcore, which is a blend of indie rock and some more poppy elements. Their newest EP, Fun and Games was released on February 22nd from the label Elton Audio Records. Its the group’s second release and is a collection of their recent singles plus a brand new song called “Clue.”
The band started during Costello’s freshman year at Drexel in 2018, and they released their first EP Hit the Dirt, after the success of their first 2 singles, “You Spent All Your Love” and “Something in the Air.” When the pandemic first hit, the group went on hiatus as the world adjusted to the onset of the novel coronavirus. They also saw the departure of their original drummer during this period and Poll joined the group, initially a fan of the infectious sound and their performances in and around Philly.
It took till the start of 2021, but the band was back and better than ever with new songs and a fan base that had grown exponentially during their hiatus. Part of their unique sound comes from having all of their tracks mixed and mastered in house by Spagnolia, who also writes and produces music under the name Diet Lemon.
The song “You Spent All Your Love” is the track that initially drew me to the band. It became a quick favorite and eventually one of my top tracks of 2021 and the band has claimed a spot in my spotify wrapped top 5 for the last few years. Their newest EP is a glimpse of what’s to come from the group that keeps writing infectious songs that I can’t help but play over and over again.
The entire thing is designed to be listened to on repeat over and over, which yours truly has done all too often since it was released. The first track off the group’s EP is “Boggle” which was my favorite song for a few months prior to the EP’s release. The entire thing is a tribute to growing up and the nostalgia that comes from growing up and reflecting on no longer being a kid. The start of “Boggle” is this mesmerizing bass line that gets stuck in my head for days on end and is one of my favorite licks from the entire piece. The end of “Boggle,” (think the last 30 seconds) is this mesmerizing lick fading to the next with Costello’s piercing vocals that just hits that funny musical bone that makes it one of my favorites.
Next up is “Sorry!” which in a similar vein has mesmerizing bridges and mastering that makes the track a constant repeat on my list. The song has more punchy drums than any of its preceding songs and is a certified banger that is good for jamming along and a break from the slower songs this far in the EP. Following “Sorry!” is “Risk” which is a little more poppy and has some of the most mind numbingly lovely harmonies and layering. Mega Mango does this thing where they are masters in multilayered harmonic riffs which make listening like stepping into a warm blanket.
After “Risk” is “Blurt” which drove the band’s latest popularity on Tiktok. It’s an earworm that I can’t quite get out of my head. It’s a bit of a change from the rest of the EP as it’s less heavy with the bass and features keys which gives it a distinctly different sound. It’s a bit more jazzy than the other tunes and makes for a lovely listening experience with or without the context of the full piece. Finally is “Clue” which is the newest song on the EP and it’s so very good. The song is a bit more stripped down and emotionally raw, which is a bit hard to believe for a band who’s entire discography is emotional banger after banger about the experience of growing up and the nostalgia of the early 2000s.
All in all, it’s a well rounded listening experience that’s redefining the genre and fully establishing themselves as an indie rock band and I’m excited for more music they produce. Most recently, they’ve been gearing up for a tour across the US (stopping here in SF!) and just announced that they will be performing as part of Bamboozle fest in New Jersey this summer.