Saddle Creek | Now It's Overhead | Reviews


Fall Back Open

Author: Will
05/24/2004 | | | Album Review
Hailing from Athens and led by studio guru Andy LeMaster, Now It's Overhead is back with their second record, "Fall Back Open." I'm glad to report the new record sounds like rock n' roll from outer space, and it's great.

"Wait in a Line' kicks things off, and it's the manages to capture the feeling of the night and all its promises and fears. But with its layered lead vocals and ethereal backing voices, it sounds like night in a parallel universe. This song sets the tone for the rest of the moving, evocative album that follows.

Themes of uncertainty and fear are touched on throughout the record. Whether it's the "love as a boxing match" metaphor of "Surrender" or viewing your own defeat in "Reverse," there aren't a lot of happy endings here. But then, I think that's the point. The stories of Now It's Overhead aren't complete. LeMaster gives us glimpses into these lives through his lyrics. We're only catching moments here, and it's up to the listener to decide what happens. Just because we're hearing a lot of dark moments doesn't mean they end up that way.

But I'm making this sound like a book of short stories rather than a terrific record. LeMaster, with drummer Clay Leverett, bassist Orenda Fink and keyboardist Maria Taylor has put together a record that combines great songwriting with studio wizardry (Check out some of the effects on "Reverse") to make something unique. Songs like "Turn & Go" touch on themes of nature and uncertainty while the melody and powerful vocals make you feel like you could conquer the world.

A couple of friends stop by to lend their voices to the proceedings. Conor "Bright Eyes" Oberst offers backing vocals on the title track, a song about the fragility of healing that sounds like it's shifting in and out of our reality. Another Athens musician, Michael "Michael Stipe" Stipe harmonizes on "Antidote," an edgy number about trust, betrayal and death.

There are some really unique songs here. "Profile" is made up of personal ads set to music, with LeMaster's almost ghostly vocals pulsed along by a drum machine. My favorite track on the album, "The Decision Made Itself," barrels along with an acoustic guitar lead tells the story of missed opportunities and lost time. It's strange to make the listener take comfort in a song about loss, but damned if they don't pull it off.

This is a record that sounds almost like a world unto itself. It's a sometimes lyrically unsettling look into some dark moments, but it'll have you humming along just the same. "Fall Back Open" is perfect for those times when you want to hear something just to the left of center. You can check them out at
Fall Back Open

Fall Back Open

CD / MP3