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Overhead - 2012 - "Of Sun and Moon"

(49:51, Progressive Promotion Records)


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TRACK LIST:

1.  Lost Inside-2 5:03
2.  Berlin 4:13
3.  An Afternoon of Sun and Moon 5:14
4.  Aftermath 5:12
5.  Syriana 4:07
6.  Grotte 3:40
7.  Last Broadcast 7:05
8.  Alive 7:51
9.  Angels and Demons 7:26

LINEUP:

Alex Keskitalo  vocals; flutes
Tarmo Simonen  keyboards 
Jaakko Kettunen  guitars 
Janne Pylkkinen  bass 
Ville Sjublom  drums 

Prolusion. The Finnish band OVERHEAD has been a unit for 13 years at this point, and 2012 marks their 10th anniversary of their debut album "Zumanthum". "Of Sun and Moon" is their fourth full length studio production, and was released by the German label Progressive Promotion Records in the summer of 2012.

Analysis. Overhead's fourth foray into the realm of the recording artists has produced a nice little album with a rather varied scope, and one that's actually a bit more adventurous then I suspect they will be given credit for. In terms of references and a contextual setting I guess melodic progressive rock is the safest bet however, as the majority of the material at hands resides within the most accessible parts of the art rock realm, with an occasional detour over the borders to a more mainstream oriented rock universe. The arguably most challenging piece is the one that opens this CD. Lost Inside-2 is the name of this creation, which sports atmospheric laden arrangements not top far away from Porcupine Tree in nature tied in with gentle, ambient inserts and slow, surging sequences dominated by massive guitar riffs. There's also room for a tight and compact instrumental section midways, blazing with high energy. Aftermath is another example of the band taking on a somewhat more adventurous approach: this time with a recurring chorus with verse passages that sport alternating, different arrangements ranging from gentle psychedelic oriented in nature to a grittier, guitar riff dominated one. But the songs that will stick in memory from this CD are of a rather different character: An Afternoon of Sun and Moon for instance, with a careful but energetic verse segment sporting rhythms with a slight Caribbean touch, exploding into a bass and rhythms driven chorus with a jubilant feel about it. Soaring powerful vocals and rhythms with a nod or three in the direction of disco and Europop (sic), drenched in dissonant but dampened noise textures that give this sequence and song a rather unique nature overall. Prior to that Berlin is a more traditional melodic art rock piece that most likely will draw comparisons in the direction of Sylvan, and much the same can be said about the piece Alive that appears towards the end of this CD. All of them are tight and energetic creations, dominated by lead vocals and with a distinct emphasis on accessible melodies. Syrania is another composition that shares some of these features, this one also sporting cleverly constructed intensifying themes to build and release tension. Last Broadcast is another item that fits within this context; this song is a dual entity with a mellow, melancholic first half that shifts into a high energy mode at the halfway point building up to an almost frantic finale. The brief dual-themed instrumental Grotte is a nice interlude in between the more vocal dominated pieces at hand, while final track Angels and Demons is, to my ears, a rather disappointing conclusion to an otherwise strong production, a fragmented affair that opens with a compelling, richly layered majestic theme and then wanders off into a musical landscape that seemingly tries to incorporate everything and the kitchen sink. Many different and different-sounding motifs, themes and arrangements in quick succession, with the opening theme and a nice, melodic insert that should bring instant recognition to everyone who still remember Men At Work, two of the recurring elements that somehow tie it together.

Conclusion. Overhead's fourth studio album "Of Sun and Moon" is a production that, despite some detours into slightly unexpected waters, first and foremost comes across as a strong recording within the accessible, melodic progressive rock segment: strong melodies, strong and powerful vocals, compact and energetic arrangements. I'd estimate that fans of Sylvan should be something of a key audience for this production, and in particular those amongst them who enjoy the likes of Porcupine Tree.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 16, 2012
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Progressive Promotion Records
Overhead


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