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Ovrfwrd - StarStuff CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.03 | 52 ratings

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4 stars "StarStuff" is the fourth studio album by OVRFWRD, a Minneapolis-based instrumental quartet that has existed for eight years with the same lineup: Chris Malmgren (keyboards), Mark Ilaug (guitar), Kyle Lund (bass) and Richard Davenport (drums). If the previous (2018) album lasted about 54 minutes, then the new one does not even reach 40 minutes. This is probably a good thing, because if "StarStuff" were longer, then perhaps its disadvantages would be even more noticeable. Such disadvantages include the lack of bright, "catchy" moments and in some places the background nature of the music. The best of seven tracks is the second, "Let It Burn (King George)", featuring beautiful parts from guest flutist Paula Gudmundson. Thanks to her, the middle of the opus stands out especially. The first and third tracks are little inferior to this work - the driving, energetic and nervous "Firelight" with memorable aggressive organ parts a la Jon Lord and the title track with its psychedelic, meditative and sad "notes". Moreover, I can focus on a very good fifth composition "Daybreak": it is a beautiful, jazzed, purely piano "contemplative" piece. Much of the rest of the material - especially, perhaps, the last track "From Parts Unknown" - loses in terms of having something that would capture the spirit and imagination of listeners. This music clearly lacks either vocals, or good parts on strings and/or winds (it's a pity that Gudmundson played so little on the album), or just some godsends in the field of melodies, chord sequences, thematic development, or stylistic diversity. The already mentioned 2018 album was richer in sound and genre diversity: the musicians either played hard and aggressively, then went to the "East" or ambient. Therefore, despite the much longer duration, the 2018 release was not perceived as too much long. The musicians of OVRFWRD are strong professionals. They are not only proficient instrumentalists, but also "play conjunctly", "in a cohesive way". The band has great potential and is able to record a "StarAlbum". The conclusion: "StarStuff" as a whole can be seen as an attainment of an ensemble that is able to achieve more. 3.5 rounded up.
felonafan | 4/5 |


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