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Album Review

Shortly after the 2009 death of incredibly influential songwriter Vic Chestnutt, four friends and fans of the musician — David Bazan, known for his witty solo material as well as his work in Pedro the Lion; Will Johnson from Centro-Matic; and brothers Bubba and Matt Kadane, the minds behind seminal slowcore units Bedhead and the New Year — met up in a Denton, Texas studio and began work on what would become the debut album from Overseas. Though not officially uniting in memoriam of their talented friend, the four musicians already had inclinations toward somber, grave-faced music at times. The ten songs on this self-titled debut don't all sound like the slowcore murmurings of their respective pasts, but there's a certain collective darkness at the core of even the most upbeat Overseas tracks. Though all talented vocalists, Johnson and Bazan handle all of the singing here, often trading back and forth between Bazan's husky grumbles and Johnson's protracted sighs. Though Overseas is clearly a total collaborative effort, the individual components are easy to pick out. Bazan's sardonic wit pops up in the lyrics of songs like "Lights Are Gonna Fall" and the brilliantly mean "Hellp." Johnson's ghostly harmonies draw out songs like "Here (Wish You Were)" with a pastoral blues bent not unlike his rustic solo album Scorpion. The silent heroes of Overseas, however, are the Kadane brothers, whose instrumental fingerprints touch every surface of every song and sculpt the vibe of the album in a way unmistakable to their slowcore past. While Bazan's raw, comical lyrics about kids eating pizza on the boardwalk may perk up the ears of those already familiar with his style, the patient, meticulous interlocking of guitar lines and melodies springing from every instrument recall the brightest spots of Bedhead and the New Year's incredible brilliance. The triumphant instrumental introduction of "Redback Strike" lingers just a little longer than usual, fades into a single verse, and then returns before the song abruptly stops. The slow-motion tumble of "The Sound of Giving Way" breaks down into laser-beam guitar leads. These examples are just a few of the type of paint-by-numbers orchestrations that made Bedhead's late-'90s melancholia so sticky and captivating, and that sound continues to develop on Overseas. All four members of this indie supergroup make Overseas unique, but at its highest heights, the Kadane brothers make the band great.

Customer Reviews

Good album, needed more Bazan to be a great album

I would find myself actually frustrated on all the songs that Bazan doesn't sing on. It's like a garage with a '56 red/white corvette and yet you have to drive the ford focus. I think Bazan's voice is just too original and too epic to be left out of even a single song. Overall a solid album. Get it. Dream of it with more Bazan.

This is an album you shouldn't miss out on

Being a huge fan of The New Year and Bedhead, I was intrigued to hear some of their members were involved in a new project and quickly took advantage of a pre-order that included a pre-release download of the full album. Upon first listen, the influence of the Kadane brothers on the instrumentation of the album is evident. However, to fans of the Kadane brothers vocals will notice thier absence on the songs. It took me a few listens to learn to appreciate Bazan and Johnson's vocals, but once I did they have really grown on me. Both their vocals are delivered with confidence and feeling, while keeping distinctly different. As soon as I heard "Old Lo;ve" I fell hard for it. It has amazing lyrics, a perfect beat and drum sound, it's concise, and has one of those endings that make you want to start the song over again. This song is a mixhounds gold. I'm waiting to hear it on a handful of TV show, much like the song "Line of Fire" by Junip. However, to me, this is an album where you don't get the full effect unless you take the whole thing in at once. What i think Overseas accomplishes here that alot of the bands they might be lumped in with is that this is an album with relatively conventional songwriting (i.e. something my parents or grandparents even could enjoy) and with relatively conventional instrumentation (drums, guitars, bass, vocals, a little keys) that keeps it interesting for the entire length and through countless listens. One thing that they use to achieve this is with unconventional and attentive electric guitar work.. No big show off solo's here, but I bet they put as much time and attention to these concise interesting guitar parts as anyone, and to me it shows. Another things that keeps me coming back is the lyrics, which seem to come off east to these fellers. Nothing seems forced here. Content and topics seem to be a perfect fit for someone like myself, a middle aged man who's too introspective about his past and too uncertain about his future, but somehow content enough with now. I was very happy today to see that they are working on a number two album.

Great album, need more Johnson & Bazan. Period.

Hey Ryan3985 -- I disagree. The more Will Johnson creates, plays and sings...the better off we are in this world. And the same goes for David Bazan. Go see a Will Johnson show. You will get it.


Formed: 2009 in Denton, Texas

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Overseas is a collaborative supergroup made up of indie songwriters/multi-instrumentalists David Bazan, Will Johnson, and brothers Matt and Bubba Kadane. The four had become friends over the course of many years playing shows together in their various respective projects like Pedro the Lion, Centro-Matic, and Bedhead, and shortly after the 2009 death of their mutual friend Vic Chestnutt, the quartet assembled in a Denton, Texas studio to work on what they thought would be material for a tour-only...
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Overseas, Overseas
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Customer Ratings