Now Its Overhead worth looking up for

A Review of Now Its Overhead at the Middle East (Downstairs) on November 7

, Staff Writer

Athens, Greece is looked upon as an ideal of democracy, the seat of government for the Ancient Greek empire which saw advances in philosophy, science, and art. Athens, Georgia is an ideal setting for live music, one which saw the rise of R.E.M. from college radio to national success and has been called the best college music scene in America by Rolling Stone. Now It’s Overhead, of Athens (GA) brought their sound to the not-too-shabby Boston music scene last Tuesday at the Middle East as opening act for Sub Pop’s The Album Leaf.

After reading the band’s website, which compared them to a more poppy and infectious My Bloody Valentine, I was immediately excited. Bassist Curtis Brown and guitarist / keyboard play Brad Register had the shoe-gazing act down, but I can’t completely validate the My Bloody Valentine comparisons. Now It’s Overhead sound more like I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness if ILYBICD had decided that darkness wasn’t all that interesting, changed direction, and chose Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard as their frontman.

In his upper-register not-quite-whine lead singer and guitar player Andy LeMaster, formerly of Bright Eyes, sang soul-bearing lyrics like “I will always miss you / I am a skeleton on display” and “Don’t ever move away from here / And I won’t ever move away.” The music was the skeleton on display, and LeMaster did little to distract the crowd from it, singing as if transfixed by something in the distance.

Now It’s Overhead’s songs are very strong, compositions of layered guitars, keyboards, and strong bass melodies over fairly complex rhythmic ideas. Drummer Clay Leverett provided the rhythmic variety, playing songs in different meters and often accenting upbeats in interesting places. My only complaint is that many of the songs ended suddenly and without definition, leaving the crowd hanging on for LeMaster’s “Thanks y’all” before clapping.

Overall the set was promising. Now It’s Overhead sound like a band that has found their own personal sound and is beginning to explore it. LeMaster seems to be comfortable breaking out of the title “Andy LeMaster, formerly of Bright Eyes” into his role of “Andy LeMaster, frontman of Now It’s Overhead.” I’d recommend checking them out, definitely a solid band that could add the perfect song to a mix tape, and one that may be much more than that very soon.

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