Saddle Creek | Now It's Overhead | Reviews


Fall Back Open

Author: Brian Fogarty
03/01/2004 | | | Album Review
As one of the few bands outside of Omaha to grace Saddle Creek's lineup, Now It's Overhead are back with their second record and a phenomenal improvement over the 2001 self-titled debut. Though the self-titled record was a strong and well-done affair, it lacked the elements to grab your memory, thus limiting further interest in listening. Fall Back Open comes at you like a resurgence of 80s modern rock - typified by bands like U2 and the indie cousins - and it is awesome.

Now It's Overhead come from Athens, GA - you know the 'other' famous Southern college music scene (read: not Chapel Hill) - the home to R.E.M. and scores more. The band or collective as it may be is fronted by Andy LeMaster on vocals, varying instruments and song writing duties. LeMaster also is a player in Bright Eyes (on Saddle Creek) and co-runs the studio Chase Park Transduction in Athens. Rounding out the group are Orenda Fink (bass, keys and vocals), Maria Taylor (keys and vocals) and Clay Leverett (drums and vocals). Many people are surely familiar with Fink and Taylor as the core of Azure Ray - another one of the few bands on Saddle Creek outside of Omaha. Fink also can be found the Elected's new record and Leverett played previously in Athens' Lona. After touring with and combining tours with Bright Eyes, Now It's Overhead and Azure Ray, LeMaster went back to the studio to work and hammer out tracks for the future record. I'm not sure exactly who came into the studio that caused LeMaster to compose this breakthrough - literally, but also meaning really good musicians pushing you to your limits or really bad musicians who make you appreciate the simply notions of rock more concretely. Regardless, though I liked the debut, Fall Back Open absolutely leaves it in the dust.

Although there are only nine tracks, all are well measured and developed. The record opens on "Wait In A Line" with rolling drums as LeMaster builds and Fink and Taylor have some backing harmonies. But where the song kicks into the gear is on the guitar bridge - a sizzling sense of U2ness that many, many listeners will surely get into to. That small section clearly sets the song apart. "Surrender" is closer to what we found on the debut release as it's a straight-forward sweeping melody rock song. "Profile" has a more 80s rock feel with very slight vocal delay, while "Turn & Go" is slower and harmony-ridden with the help of the ladies. The build on "Turn & Go" is influential, helping it standout in its subtleness. "Fall Back Open" is another slow mover that parallels the feel of "Turn & Go" and has a nice closing with Conor Oberst, Fink and Taylor matching vocals with LeMaster. With convincing guitar twang and the folk-feel of a Bright Eyes track "The Decision Made Itself" is one of the stars amongst the nine. "Reverse" is lyrically dense but musically spins its wheels and "Antidote" slithers with a neat guitar riff coupled with sporadic drums and vocals as the intensity rises - and, noteworthy, Michael Stipe adds backing vocals. Closing out the record, "A Little Consolation" highlights more mid-tempo rock and a strong sense of emotion.

Look for Now It's Overhead to be touring the U.S. and Europe quite soon and not unlikely with some combo of Azure Ray and Bright Eyes, or other Saddle Creek bands. If you enjoyed their debut then you will surely love this. If you didn't like the debut - for whatever reason - the nine tracks here will likely make you reconsider especially given their catchiness and impressionability.
Fall Back Open

Fall Back Open

CD / MP3