Saddle Creek | Now It's Overhead | Reviews


Fall Back Open

Author: Jake Haselman
03/09/2004 | | | Album Review
Andy LeMaster is back with another work under the Now It's Overhead moniker. This time the Athens born songwriter has gotten the help of Azure Ray for his second release. But with yet another member-swapping release on the Omaha superpower Saddle Creek, you are really going to need to be sold on this if you are going to buy it. I don't mean that the label has to stoop to dirty standards to sell records, but I think most people are starting to think, "doesn't everything on that label sound the same? I mean, it's all the same people on every album."

Valid point. So what's different with Fall Back Open?

Well, what's the same is it's another solid album on Saddle Creek. I know, I know, I just got done talking about how it's all the same musicians on every album… and for the most part that's true. But LeMaster hasn't let the rest of the labels mainstays totally affect his music. Sure, the ladies from Azure Ray add their stamp of dark mystery, but you feel that these are still Andy's songs.

The songs come out sounding like another Athens band, R.E.M. Not your older brother's R.E.M. mind you, but an updated version, mixed with dashes of Depeche Mode or The Cure. Seems pretty standard right? I mean, it kind of figures that this young man would have been brought up on this stuff like it was gospel. But even with a guest appearance by Mr. Stipe himself, Andy seems to keep his wits about him. For all the pop influence that bleeds through these nine songs, they hardly seem barrowed or lifted from some other playbook. In fact, I say they go a long way to putting LeMaster at the top of the songwriter game.

His voice harbors a little bit of insecurity, but in a good way. It keeps the otherwise polished and slickly produced album feeling human. While the album's sound is impeccable, he somehow keeps it from seeming cold and hollow. And in a day when heart and tenderness seem to be more identified with lo-fi home recordings, I say that is one hell of a feat.

But I'm not one to write a complete hype piece. Time will tell if Now It's Overhead will get the respect they deserve for putting out an album like Fall Back Open. Press be damned, if you enjoy well put together melodramatic/moody albums, this will color you blue… or happy… whatever.

Fall Back Open

Fall Back Open

CD / MP3