Thursday, September 14, 2006
Now It's Overhead--Dark Light Daybreak (New!)
Artist-Now It's Overhead
Album-Dark Light Daybreak
Release Date-Sep 12, 2006
Biography-by Heather Phares Athens, GA's Now It's Overhead mixes moody pop influences such as the Cure and Depeche Mode and the layered textures of bands like Spiritualized and My Bloody Valentine into lovelorn indie rock. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Andy LeMaster, bassist/keyboardist/trumpeter/vocalist Orenda Fink, keyboardist/vocalist Maria Taylor, and drummer/vocalist Clay Leverett are also active in other Athens bands and projects: LeMaster, along with former Sugar bassist David Barbe and the Glands' Andy Baker, owns and operates the Chase Park Transduction Recording Studio, where he has worked with Japancakes, Azure Ray, Bright Eyes (of whom LeMaster is also a touring member), and Seaworthy, among others; Fink and Taylor also perform with Azure Ray. Now It's Overhead released their self-titled debut on Saddle Creek in mid-2001. Their sophomore album, Fall Back Open, which included guest spots by Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Michael Stipe, appeared in spring 2004. Two years later, after officially welcoming collaborator Brad Register (on guitar and keys) into the band, Now It's Overhead released Dark Light Daybreak, which showed a slightly more upbeat side to their usual brand of shoegaze-inspired rock.
Review-by Marisa Brown On their third album, Saddle Creek's Now It's Overhead don't stray much from the formula of layered guitars and vocals that they already displayed on their first two efforts, but that doesn't mean that Dark Light Daybreak is a monotonous or boring record. Rather, the band, as it's matured, has taken what they've previously done and expanded upon it, adding subtle new dimensions and intricacies. This results in something that is slightly more aggressive musically than what Now It's Overhead have played before, with songs like "Walls" — its quick, punchy chorus offset by a slower verse — or "Type A" — with a short, poppy, almost new wave guitar line and lyrics like "Blood pressure rising/Higher than it can get" — presenting a different, and welcome, side to Andy LeMaster's writing. There's still a darkness and weight to the album, but motion is now almost as important as still contemplation. The band has gone from midnight to the thick black haze before sunrise (as evidenced in the title) and there are signs, albeit small, of hope and movement. They haven't abandoned their aesthetic, though: there are plenty of long-held chords, background vocal harmonies, and continuous rhythmic eighth notes, this constancy of sound and avoidance of space giving the songs a feeling of lushness and heaviness even if there are actually few instruments playing. "Night Vision" sounds like it could easily belong on Fall Back Open and "Meaning to Say" is full and melancholy. Yet there's something noticeably different, too. "Believe What They Decide" is soft and slow, but it has a dobro-like electric guitar playing along with LeMaster's plaintive voice, giving it an almost neo-Western feel, like early morning on the empty, lonely prairie. That same idea is explored on the acoustic-guitar driven, suicidal "Let Up," bittersweet and mournful and echoing across the expanse. Sadness is omnipresent, yet there's a life to it that makes it seem less depressing, hopeless. While nothing on Dark Light Daybreak is mind-blowingly original, it's all very good, and each song only adds on to the effectiveness and beauty of the next, layering one upon another like the instruments themselves, and making a very solid, even great, album.
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