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ME REX is made up of longtime friends Myles McCabe (Guitar/Keys/Vocals), Phoebe Cross (Drums/Vocals) and Rich Mandell (Bass/Keys/Vocals/Production). Based in London and Brighton, the band have carved a distinct niche for themselves. Over the course of two double EPs and one shuffle album trio have continued to evolve with their blend of introspective lyricism, “surging, gargantuan hooks” and soundscapes.
ME REX defies genre boundaries and typical song structures, while touching on themes of friendship, forgiveness, loss and joy wrapped in sweeping metaphors of alchemy and mythology. Across the bands catalogue they weave in influences taken from art and lore, from the idea of “Comets as harbingers of change and gateways to other realms” to ancient foundational narratives and their real-world reflections, managing to shape them into something closer to modern humanity.
On ME REX’s new album, Giant Elk, due out in October 2023, McCabe and co. play into their penchant for storytelling by exploring what it means to be human in various different forms following a story of “continual fracturing and regeneration, illustrating the process of growing through loss and grief, set against the backdrop of societal and climate collapse.” The result? Eleven earworm tracks that deliver a catharsis that you’ll keep wanting to discover over and over again.
Recorded over the course of 2022 at four different studios, Giant Elk is the first release the band have recorded together since 2020. Their previous records were created during lockdown, with limited time to rehearse and perform the material before committing to record. The trio spent time workshopping Giant Elk originally as another collection of EPs, but quickly realised that the shape of the project meant it would form the basis for their first ‘normal’ full-length album.
On single Eutherians (Ultramarine), the band details the feeling of losing part of one’s self, wrapped in sharp wordplay from McCabe and vibrant fuzzed out guitars, keys and conga rhythms that sounds as if it’s been ripped straight from a 1990’s animated film soundtrack. Giant Giant Giant equally showcases what the collective do best, primarily constructing delicate threads of vocal layering with clever lyricism that rolls off McCabe’s tongue with a poetical prowess, while Mandell builds luscious swathes of guitars and synths to fuse their raw DIY past and a bright, creative future.
“Eutherians is a clade of mammals that includes humans. The word can be translated contrastingly as either ‘true beasts’ or ‘good beasts’. The lyrics follow the album's central metaphor of being cursed to continue life split in half, grieving the violent separation from itself, while trying to become whole and finding some meaning in that striving. The Ultramarine referred to in the song represents alternately the infinite, domineering sky and the chaos and danger of the sea,” says McCabe.
In real terms though, at Giant Elk’s core is McCabe addressing the violence and loneliness woven into the legacy of masculinity and finding meaning in futility. “We can dance like our dads did/ Thumbs, fists and hips twisting/ Like there’s some heavy, hideous, invisible thing we’re wrestling with” he sings on Jawbone, its chorus builds into an achingly gorgeous soaring crescendo. Similarly Halley offers a calming shift in tone and pace, breaking away from snappy rhythms to instead present a ballad-esque sense of melancholy and longing, before lapsing back into the joyous synths found on Pythons.
In 2021 the band released their debut album Megabear: a record built from 52 short tracks intended to be played in shuffle mode in order for the listener to create their own perfect, endless, combination of songs. The band then dove headfirst into follow-up double EP Pterodactyl/Plesiosaur, while the beginnings of ME REX’s creative output came in the form of Triceratops/Stegosaurus, which saw their audience ready and waiting to welcome them with open arms. Stereogum declared: “[ME REX] have triangulated a sweet spot between dour grey-skies UK indie rock and no-holds-barred emo catharsis, so that each track becomes a little indie coming-of-age film unto itself.”
With each ME REX release the band have continued to captivate crowds, most notably at End Of The Road, Latitude Festival, SXSW and 2000 Trees Festival, and in November 2023 they’ll be hitting the road around the UK in support of their album. Bridging the gap between worlds of indie, folk and post-rock, ME REX are most comfortable when they’re sonically breaking the constraints most commonly found among their peers: cementing their place as one of the most exciting and innovative collectives of their generation.
Friday 24th November 2023
Price: £10.00 Adv. (stbf)