You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya? – Overhead, The Albatross

25 04 2012

WE’RE BACK TO IRELAND FOR SOME INSTRUMENTAL TRICKERY

I’m well aware that I recently did one of these features on So Many Animal Calls but I felt guilty for neglecting YNFRHA? so I’m back. And I couldn’t have picked a better band to cover for this. Before I begin I must send out a big thank you to Mr. McCormick from Kasper Rosa for putting me on to this band as I have pretty much enjoyed eery second of listening to them. Overhead, The Albatross, an Irish sextet (no sniggering please) have produced some of the most intricate, challenging and sheerly amazing music I have heard in quite some time. The first track I listened to, “Pigonometry” off their EP Mr. Dog, absolutely blew me away. So much so that I went running to every single on of my band mates and a few of my university friends urging, and potentially threatening, them to listen to the band. Immediately. Overhead, The Albatross have really compounded the fact, alongside Kasper Rosa, that Ireland, both Republic and Northern, is producing some top quality bands. Bands that are really worth keeping your eyes on.

After the aforementioned peer threatening I went on an Overhead, The Albatross binge. Straight to BandCamp to download their three available releases, Lads With Sticks, Mr. Dog and the single Think, Thank, Thunk, and then proceeded to neglect everything else in the world to listen to this band. What a choice. If I were to describe it with a noise it’d be something like the noise Gary Neville made last night when Torres equalised against Barca. That’s just how much I enjoyed it. Usually when I listen to a band with a large contingent of members I tend to feel that things tend to sound cluttered and messy in points. This is NOT the case with O,TA. They manage to actually achieve quite a minimalist feel in parts of their songs, “Jonah” is a great example of this, sweeping through serene passages of music and just when you think they are about to burst into a wall of noise they sweep you into yet another soothing passage of bracing post-rock joy. I actually really enjoy that Overhead do not feel they need to burst into a barrage of noise to create an enjoyable track for the listener. That really conveys to me that this band are completely confident in the music they are producing. Furthermore, I do really enjoy the sort of Sigúr Rós/Godspeed aesthetic that this band have going for them. Many songs on their releases, such as “Flubirds” and “Think, Thank, Thunk”, also utilise the usage of strings on top of keyboard/piano sections in their recording while still retaining the urgency needed so the track do not become bland.

There is another side to Overhead though. They may put out some very calming and pleasent music but they are also capable of churning out some seriously jaw-dropping and infectious tracks. While listening to the second track on “Lads With Sticks” my attention was really caught. “Forgive Me Not”. What. A. Track. It is pretty much the exact polar opposite from “Jonah”, the track which preceeds it, but haing this dynamic shift really works for the band. It shows you what they are capable of. It kind of stunned me when listening to this for the first time. There so much guitar, bass and drum work going on at the same time. I have no idea how these guys keep up with each other. I have a lot of respect for this band as they had the guts to change up the feel of the album between tracks, from flowing almost ethereal sounds to bursting into high paced, fast tempo tracks. It gives “Lads With Sticks” a great change of pace and will certainly keep most listeners attention at its highest peak for the entire course of the EP.

Finally. A quick word about what is, in my opinion, Overhead, The Albatross’ stand-out track. Overall. “Pigonometry”. I pretty much spent my entire Monday and Tuesday listening to this track. Simply put. It is sheer brilliance. Kicking in with a quietly genius piece of delayed guitar tapping accompanied by more guitar swells, a simple yet effective bassline  and a cracking drum pattern, Pigonometry actually achieves quite a dark feel to begin with but more to the point, it is horribly infectious. The fact that there is so much going on in this track allows it to keep you listening without losing interest. Subtle additions of extra guitar parts and string wails usher you in to the latter half of the song where things really start to beef themselves up. After all the swells and tapping have subsided the last minute of the song is a joy to listen to. O,TA actually take Pigonometry in a whole new direction. Changing the tempo and introducing a new tapping riff that is so obscenely brilliant it almost comes through like an 8-bit track. Safe to say that the last minute of Pigonometry is sheer musical bliss. The whole track is amazing but the last section is pretty much the cheery on the cake overall. If this track doesn’t leave you feeling generally amazed then there may be something wrong with you. Infact. Go do yourself a favour and download Mr. Dog. It’s a cracker of a release.

– Here it is. Pigonometry. Brace yourself for something wonderful.

Just a quick word before the interview. Go check out Overhead, The Albatross. They are producing some seriously amazing pieces of music and hopefully will be nice enough to grace us with some more in the near future. But more importantly, keep one eye fix on any music you hear coming out of The Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Chances are it will be something overly enjoyable. I’ve not been disappointed by anything i’ve heard yet. And I doubt I will be anytime soon. Scotland – it’s time to get the finger out.

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOE PANAMA – BASSIST FOR OVERHEAD, THE ALBATROSS

Right guys. Straight off the bat, introduce yourselves and Overhead, The Albatross. How long have you guys been a band for and exactly how did you decide to start up your band in the first place?

Hello, I’m Joe and I play bass in Overhead, The Albatross. There are six of us in the band and I think the thing that really binds us together is our inability to write decent biographies about ourselves. I think you’ll find a lack of coercion a recurring theme throughout our lives.

Stevie and Dave were hanging around one day and I guess one of them said ‘Hey, let’s start a band’. I got a phonecall from one of them and the rest of the lads must have gotten one too because about a week later, 83.33% of us congregated in Dave’s studio. We had no idea what sort of music we would end up writing. I suppose that was the appeal in the beginning. We wrote ‘Jonah’ in our first sitting. It was a lot of fun.

 
Was it always your idea to create this challenging brand of instrumental music? Where do you guys draw your influences from musically? Is it mostly from bands of a similar style or do you have strong influences from other genres?

I don’t think any of us had any idea how we would take shape musically. I think we were all pretty keen on the notion that we wouldn’t have a singer in the usual sense. If you listen carefully enough, there is a vocal line in one of our songs from Mr. Dog, though none of us sang on it.

It’s quite hard to put a finger on where our influences come from. Though we all have overlapping tastes in music to some degree, we aren’t trying to emulate those artists, nor do we listen to a lot of music that sounds similar to whatever it is we’re doing.

 
What has been your biggest an most successful gig since your formation as a band? Do you have any big gig announcements for upcoming gigs in your future?

I think the most successful gigs that we’ve played were those those we ran ourselves, two in the Workman’s Club in Dublin and one in The Ormond Wine Bar. The two in the Workman’s were particularly special to us. We were overwhelmed by the amount of  people who turned out, it was astounding. We’re not a very big band, so when we fill a room it sort of makes us a bit giddy.

We have two pretty cool gigs in the pipeline but neither have been announced so I don’t think I’m allowed to mention them yet.

 
Now. There seems to be a lot of amazing musical works coming out of Ireland as a whole. Alongside yourselves there are such bands as Kasper Rosa and Friend? Are you guys encouraged by the sheer amount of brilliant bands showcasing both these countries talents? Is there a big scene for your brand of music?

Definitely, bands like Kasper Rosa and Friend? are a joy to know and play with. I was listening to the Friend? E.P. last week. I had forgotten how good those songs are. They haven’t played in ages, hopefully they’ll play again some day.

There is a surprisingly big scene for whatever sort of music this is, I want to call it ‘Fancy Rock’ from now on, but some bands get a bee in their bonnet if you mention rock music. We all get a pretty big kick from seeing local bands doing well, or playing a blinder of a set. The more, the merrier.

 
How have all your released works been received since they have been put into the public’s access? Have you had any praise from high places for the releases of Mr. Dog and Lads with Sticks?

We were bowled over by the response that the first two E.P’s got. It’s incredible to have people from all over the world email you about your music. That doesn’t get old for me at all. I’d hate to think that I was only ever making music to see what other people thought of it but it sure is nice to have somebody in Argentina know who you are and appreciate what you’re doing. I don’t think we’ve had any praise from anywhere too big. We got played on BBC: Across The Line the other week, that was pretty cool.

To this day, We’re still hoping that Liam Neeson gets to hear the song we named after him. If anybody has the wherewithal to do that, please help us out.

 
I noticed that you released a joint EP with Friend in 2011. What was the thought process behind this? How did the release of this EP go down?

We didn’t actually release a split EP, we both released our records at the same gig though, Mr. Dog and the Friend? EP I was on about earlier. That was some gig. I love the idea of split releases. If we dig a band enough to release some music with them then hopefully the person buying that record will hear what we’re hearing and have a new bands to listen to, and vice versa.

 
So. Do you guys have any massive, earth-shattering plans for the remainder of 2012?

We do, but we’re keeping Mum about them for the time being. Needless to say, you’ll need to stock up on David Icke’s scripture and prophylactics. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s going to get messy.

 
Are there any bands that you guys have played with or seen live that we should be keeping our eyes and ears on?

I started writing something there and it got really horribly long winded. You should make every effort to check out:

Croupier, Enemies, Red Enemy, Back & To The Left, Hero In Error, Alarmist, Halves.

 

Quick thanks go out to Joe from Overhead, The Albatross fro taking time to answer my inane brand of questioning. Thanks man! Also, thank to the entire band for writing Pigonometry and giving me a new favourite track.

You can check out Overhead, The Albatross at :-

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Overhead-The-Albatross/279172111192 – Facebook

http://overheadthealbatross.bandcamp.com/ – BandCamp

http://overheadthealbatross.bigcartel.com/ – BigCartel (go buy some stuff and be nice)

I’ll be back on Sunday with my next feature on…………….Nah. Not telling you. Come back Sunday to find out.

John


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