By Weadee Mombo
GENRE: Math Rock, Pop-Punk, Alternative
LABEL: Choke Artist Records
RIYL: Floral, Bobbing, Invalids
Winnipeg might not be known for its math rock roots but A.M. Overcast’s latest self titled release is there to change that.
A.M. Overcast is an energetic mix of pop-punk, emo, math rock,
topped by an eccentric production. With the longest song capping in at 2min30sec, each track is packed to the brim with explosive melodies that do not let up until the end. No song is a filler. They all “get in, do the job, and get out.” It’s almost impressive how much they’re able to accomplish in such little time.
At times the album feels reminiscent of other midwestern emo acts such as Carley Cosgrove, Retirement Party, and rivaling Glass Beach in how far it pushes the envelope. This album can best be described as organized chaos. It’s difficult to compete with great short songs that rip hard and instantly catch listeners attention. There’s something you have to love about that level of efficiency and being efficient is what A.M. Overcast does best
Alex Litinsky, the mastermind behind the project (also Miles Paralysis,) is clearly a very talented musician in many aspects, doing all instrumentation of the record along with John Markson, who does an excellent job separating all the tracks through mixing/mastering. Each riff crisply penetrates the melody, still retaining its character. A few standouts on the 22 min record are “Got Slept,” “7th substitute,” “Cold One Out,” “Sonder,” “Dropped Offset,” as well as my personal favourites: “Lockjaw Interference” and “Moonlight Combine.”
While the album sounds like none other than A.M. Overslept, it wears its influences proudly. “Got Slept” is full of technical precision characteristic of math rock with the addition of synths, unusually addicting guitar riffs, quick drumming patterns and whatever else they could fit in there. Even as the album shuts itself down just as quickly as it started, the last note hangs in the air and carries itself over to equally memorizing “7th Substitute.” This time the percussion really stands out and all the piffling details of tambourines and what sounds like rattles and screws can still be heard cycling down the tonal pattern.
It is easy to forget about the lyricism in an album chock-full of excellent arrangements, but “Moonlight Combine” (the slowest track also featuring math rock legend Yvette Young on violin) is a chance to catch a brief glimpse of it before quickly returning full speed to the last half of the record.
“Cold One Out” is the most acoustic song on the record with idyllic twinkly guitar picking. The beautiful soundscapes threaded between the rousing punchy guitar riff fade in, out and under the well-crafted melodies, making it seem as established as the other heavy-hitters.
The sounds of this album evolve every time they begin take shape and “(Sonder)” is the perfect example of this. Constantly changing direction, rather than leaving you feeling unfulfilled, it makes you continually eager to hear what will come next.
The opening riff in “Dropped Offset” nearly teases you as we wait for the explosion that will come out of the muted strumming. Again, the harmonies are so subtle but blend well with the rattles and glockenspiel. The melodies are strong, and almost beg to be repeated – but they rarely are. Everything in this album is quick and to the point.
My favourite: “Lockjaw Interference” starts off with a call and return of Alex’s guitar acting like a second vocal. It bounces back and forth until the climax rips through and unexpected screamed vocals by Andrew Murenko break out and honestly give you chills. The song goes in so many different directions, somehow surmounting the expectations it builds. My only complaint is that it is too short.
It’s a thoroughly impressive LP that is as addicting as it is fun. The instrumentation on this album is fantastically unpredictable for what can be the repetitive nature of “midwestern emo” and is full of unique touches that make the album distinctively A.M. Overcast. The playful and fast paced guitars dipped in math rock arrangements, the classic high energy of pop-punk and fun vocals, are only a glimpse into what would no doubt be a treat to see performed live and the increasingly impressive catalogue of AM. Overcast.
Album release date: June 10, 2022
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