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Overhead - Of Sun and Moon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.79 | 83 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's astounding (and a little bit depressing, really) how many gems seem to slip through the cracks. I hadn't heard of this band before I started reviewing their latest album, and from what I've heard it certainly seems a shame to me that they're not being talked about more. This is hard-rocking, eclectic crossover prog in the vein of Fair to Midland, with a wide variety of audible influences and an impressive degree of genre bending.

The album begins with "Lost Inside 2," which makes use of an eclectic riff and some Dream Theater-esque textures to create a very interesting mix of heavy and light music. An anthemic chorus gives the track a bit of extra kick, as does an absolutely wicked synth solo in the middle of the track. All of the instrumental interplay is brilliant as well, with guitars, percussion and synth all melding in a way that makes each instrument sound like a piece of something greater; there's none of the overly flashy pyrotechnics from one instrument in particular that often make a track sound overly busy. Instead, the musicians work together, and the track is that much better for it.

"Berlin" has a bit more of an accessible flavor to it, with another great riff and another great chorus that reminds me heavily of Fair to Midland (and I mean that as quite a favorable comparison). A slick and very interesting guitar solo takes up a good chunk in the final third of the track, and there's a great reprise of the chorus before the track ends rather abruptly.

Fortunately, "An Afternoon of Sun and Moon" begins straight away, with a softer sound than the previous tracks that reminds me of a combination of Fair to Midland (again) and Muse. It's a fascinating sound that clearly draws influence from a lot of different sources, but it also sounds incredibly fresh and should have a lot of crossover appeal who to those who don't necessarily like straight prog or straight alt-rock. The group does a great job with the overall atmosphere of the track, and as a result it ends up being every bit as interesting as the first two tracks even if it doesn't hit quite as hard. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's as hooky as all- get-out, either.

"Aftermath" begins in a similar vein, with an understated, slightly electronic sounding groove and some slightly mixed-back vocals. It's a very laid back atmosphere, and it really highlights the brief punctuation of heavier guitar riffs throughout the track. Once again, the chorus is very catchy, and there's a very cool flute solo at the end that provides an interesting contrast to the rest of the instrumentation.

"Syriana" starts with some punchy percussion before launching into a wild, slightly eastern- sounding theme. At risk of sounding like a broken record, the track (at least to my ears) once again carries a strong Fair to Midland vibe, and carries on the tradition the group has established thus far of having a strong chorus, though this one is perhaps a bit less bombastic than some of the previous ones. A wonderfully weird, distorted, howling guitar solo takes the track into its final vocal section, which is surprisingly tender and restrained given the instrumental it follows.

"Grotte" is the shortest track on the album, but it's also one of the most interesting, with a kind of tribal groove from percussion and bass backing up a very fluid, expressive guitar solo. Fully instrumental, it's quite an eclectic little piece of music, with a huge variety of aural textures blending together to create a small but very densely composed piece. The genre- bending is impressive as well (as it has been on the whole album so far), with strong elements from space rock, progressive folk and of course alt-rock all showing through. "Grotte" is one of my favorite tracks on the album despite its brevity, and I have a suspicion that many of my fellow progheads will think similarly.

"Last Broadcast," on the other hand, is far more stripped down. Spare but nonetheless hauntingly beautiful, the track makes use of psychedelic guitar and understated bass along with what sounds like a whistle to create an intro that sounds like Ennio Morricone could have composed it if he had sat down with Pink Floyd and had a jam session. Once vocals enter, the track takes on a bit of a different flavor, retaining all of the beauty of its introduction but morphing into something more intimate. The vocals here are among the best on the album, with the slightly raw delivery perfectly complimenting the spare, atmospheric music. Even more impressive is the fact that the most laid-back track on the album is also among the longest, and it stays compelling throughout its entire duration by utilizing the "rising and falling" of the musical intensity in a way that's highly reminiscent of many post-rock recordings. There's a brief section of tempo acceleration toward the end of the song that brings the track to a chaotic close, setting a foil to its calm beginnings but transitioning beautifully into the next track, "Alive." The penultimate song on the album kicks off with a great deal of energy, and features some great vocal hooks to complement its heavier sound. There are some electronic elements filling out the background that, by their direct or indirect influence, really highlight the far- reaching influence of Kraftwerk, and serve to give the track a very refreshing feeling. There's some great instrumental soloing towards the end of the track as well, and the galloping flute/guitar duet in the track's final 90 seconds is amazing.

"Angels and Demons" begins with an intro that sounds shockingly like Song for America-era Kansas, but it quickly delves into a more standard alt-rock vein, though the flute part certainly helps to set it apart. The chorus, once again, is excellent, and though the different sections of the track sound perhaps a bit jagged when put together, "Angels and Demons" is a great track to end the album with and it's the kind of song I would imagine would be very fun to see live. The guitar and flute combo is once again very effective, and the track closes as it began, with the big, bombastic, "Lamplight Symphony"-esque theme that finishes the album off on an appropriately grand note.

Overall, then, Of Sun and Moon is a very good album and it's an excellent entry into the genre of crossover prog. Those who think pure symphonic is too long winded and pure metal isn't catchy enough should find a perfect balance of elements here, and prog fans looking to convert their friends to the genre may find a perfect starting point here. I'd also heavily recommend the album to anyone who enjoys Fair to Midland, as I can hear a lot of similarities here. A very solid effort from what is obviously a very talented group of players and songwriters.


VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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