Saddle Creek | Now It's Overhead | Reviews


Now It's Overhead

Author: Ryan Allen
10/01/2004 | Lost at Sea | | Album Review
With the swirling beauty of a southern-fried version of My Bloody Valentine, mixed with the emotive swagger of REM, and the harmonious vocal concentration of a young Fleetwood Mac, Athens natives Now It's Overhead arrive like a pinkish cloud that could turn and cause a rush of glorious rain.
Featuring members of Azure Ray and Bright Eyes (lead singer Andy Lemaster engineered and played on all of Connor's records), Now It's Overhead mix an intoxicating blend of melodic and dark new wave synths with the lo-fi folk-pop of bands like Wheat and Crooked Fingers. On this 9-song debut, Lemaster sounds like the love child of Lindsay Buckingham, Michael Stipe, and possibly the guy from Placebo, spinning tales of levitation and love, all over an airy and lush electro-acoustic backdrop.
Although the record does feature the hypnotic and yummy vocals of Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink of Azure Ray, Now It's Overhead is really the collective vision of Lemaster, in much the same way of Bright Eyes and any Will Oldham project. By using his and his band mate's talents, he presents a definite orchestrated collection of music, not in the classical sense of strings and whatnot, but in clever instrument placement and layering. Keyboards swell in and out, drums are lightly brushed or electronically generated, piano chords are incorporated for foundation purposes, and guitars and vocals are put on top like the icing on a perfect cake. Knowing that Lemaster also has much experience behind the boards, it is no surprise that all of these elements are brilliantly manipulated with studio technique and precision. In the end, this record comes across as a labor of love between the studio and the players, all the while putting layer upon layer of sound on top of simple and emotional pop structures (it's obvious Lemaster is a huge Relvolver era Beatles fan, heard especially on the awesome "Hold Your Spin").
Lemaster and his cohorts in Now It's Overhead have been on tour with the Faint these past months, and although they may not be kicking out dark-wave goth tracks, the emotional prowess and melancholy arrangements that come through in these songs could be a great precursor to the dance party that will follow.