Overview - Forty-Four Stone Tigers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Forty-Four Stone Tigers (2007)


When I first listened to this album there was something very familiar about it that I couldn't exactly place. Looking at the bands Overview has played with in the past, I discovered Portugal. The Man to be among them, and that is when it clicked. Overview's debut EP mines a similar sort of eclectic, progressive, slightly Zeppelin-influenced indie rock that that band does.

The soaring backup vocals set against the hard-hitting guitar lines in "Scorpian Woman" shows immediately where the skill of the band lies. They seem to realize what a lot of bands don't: Just because you open the album with an aggressive punch doesn't mean anyone will remember it once it is finished. Vocalist Spencer uses a muscular inflection that is almost on the verge of a funk-rap and opposes it with a capable falsetto. Similarly, the guitar work, while indeed aggressive, changes things up with many interesting flourishes that never degrade into pointless wankery. Things continue to look hopeful with the piano-driven "Melancholy in the City" where the band shows some serious pop sensibility. The opening lines of, "Warm evenings, they make me think about driving with you in the car" is so uniquely self-referential to the way the song makes the listener feel these guys deserve accolades for it alone.

The band is most assuredly a talented and capable group of instrumentalists that have a good sense of song dynamics; this in itself does not a good album make. After the two opening songs, we are given the instrumental title track. While pleasant enough, it isn't really that interesting and lasts about twice as long as it should; if anything, it goes to show how much the talent of the vocals are missed, which is exactly the opposite of what a good instrumental track should do. For the rest of the proceedings there are some quality parts of songs (check the hand-claps of "The Two Headed Snakes") but there isn't anything that is particularly as engaging as beginning of the album, until the final song.

Overview have created a well-written, cohesive album that has some real treats to be found in it. Due the somewhat meandering nature of middle of the album, Forty-Four Stone Tigers is brought down a few notches. If the band tightens up their songwriting and continues to produce songs like "Melancholy in the City," in my opinion they have a bright future.