Music is an amazing thing, it can mean so many different things to so many people. It can suit our changing moods, be light-hearted fun, from serious stuff to throw away pop. Then you get the music that requires your attention, needing your time to invest in a good listen. That is what OVRFRWD have provided for us here, an album of depth and texture that will reward you on repeated plays by always revealing something new, all played with great skill and dexterity.
Forming in 2012, OVRFWRD are a four piece all instrumental rock band hailing from Minneapolis. Their music has been described as a “cinematic journey requiring attentive ears and patient listening”, their first composition being a piece called Raviji which led to the release of their début album Beyond the Visible Light, an album that “explores the light, dark, the heavy and silence”. They have followed this up with Fantasy Absent Reason which provides us with another instrumental journey consisting of five “pieces” that clock in at just under 45-minutes. The band claim that their musical influences include the likes of Pink Floyd, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Rush, Yes, Opeth, Joni Mitchell and King Crimson. That said, the influences are there but not obviously so and OVRFWRD have developed an identity of their own. There appears to be a cool jazz rock element with touches of psychedelia to some of the music, and at times they add progressive metal textures although these never take over.
The opening title track is perhaps the only song where the influences are obvious with elements of King Crimson running through the track. This is not a bad thing as they have crafted the sound to suit their needs whilst still being original. What begins with a quiet introduction, using a harpsichord (like Knifeworld’s bassoon, we need more of this) it soon changes tempo as the drums and keyboards come in, changing flow through many musical styles that are interesting and hold the attention. This is very clever stuff which evolves, and even at sixteen minutes plus never outstays its welcome. On Utopia Planitia there are some lovely touches of flute, soon followed by crashing chords from the guitar, reminiscent of some of Steven Wilson’s work, but again these are just fleeting moments in an original work.
Jazz styling is always there under the surface, keeping your interest with twinkling piano and jazzy bass lines. At times Brother Jack McDuff has a Canterbury-esque psychedelic feel to it, with a liberal dose of organ throughout. This is one the shorter tracks on the album but remains interesting all the same. Throughout all the songs there is great interplay between the keyboards and guitar, each showing their strengths, ably supported by some excellent drums and bass work.
This review has taken a while to write but for the best possible reason as I have repeatedly played this album. It has never failed to captivate and intrigue me – this is certainly not background music and your invested time will be very rewarding. This is engaging music which can be both powerful and beautiful. Truly progressive, this release makes me want to hear more and I intend to investigate their first album as well as looking forward to hearing what they will produce for their next album.
Fantasy Absent Reason is available digitally and in LP vinyl format in a gatefold printed sleeve. I can see a vinyl purchase coming on…
01. Fantasy Absent Reason (16:46)
02. Brother Jack McDuff (5:06)
03. Dust Nova (9:51)
04. Utopia Planitia (8:14)
05. Creature Comforts (4:20)
Total time – 45:58
Mark Ilaug – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Kyle Lund – Bass
Chris Malmgren – Piano, Hammond B3 & Keyboards
Rikki Davenport – Drums & Percussion
Record Label: n/a
Country of Origin: USA
Release Date: 30th October 2015