Review: Overman – The Future is Gonna Be Great (Overman, 2011)
This Chicago quartet stirred up some truly original publicity with their 2009 release The Evolution EP, and gained fans of all ages with the EP’s ode to Charles Darwin, “Evolution Rocks.” Two years later, they’re back with a full album that explores a variety of musical directions. Several of the songs combine ‘70s rock with modern touch points, such as the exuberant opener’s combination of Matthew Sweet’s post-Girlfriend guitar rock with Nirvana-like vocal quirks; you can also hear liquid 70s guitar threaded through the Oasis-styled psych of “So Many Stars.” At other turns the songs are lighter country- and folk-rock, suggesting ‘70s crossover acts like Brewer & Shipley, and deploying the emotional grip of Harry Chapin in the expectant “Come Home Soon.” There’s a Red Hot Chili Peppers’ influence in the vocal melody of the title track, but not the funk rhythms deployed last time out. Overman’s retained their sense of humor (as heard in the pop-punk “The Mother in Me”), but they’re writing more deeply emotional songs, either from personal experience or the experience of songwriting itself. The album’s a bit schizophrenic in its collection of styles, but after two releases, that seems to be a band hallmark.