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OVRFWRD: StarStuff

Minneapolis’ instrumental outfit OVRFWRD has released its fourth studio album, StarStuff. It resembles its outstanding predecessor, 2018’s Blurring the Lines … A Democracy Manifest, in the respect that it contains shorter, more concise songs than the band’s first two albums, each of which contained several epic or quasi-epic length tracks. The playing is outstanding as well, just as it was on Blurring the Lines. The band has consisted of the same four members - Kyle Lund (bass), Richard Davenport (drums), Mark Ilaug (guitars), and Chris Malmgren (keyboards) since their debut album, and all are masters on their instruments. In addition, the composition remains very strong, as the band continues to evolve and mature (perhaps due in part to the consistency of the lineup).

Starstuff has a more laid-back feel than its predecessors, though. There are still some heavy tracks on the album, such as the opener “Firelight”, that resemble the work of Liquid Tension Experiment or that found on John Paul Jones’ excellent Zooma from 1999. But in general, I find this to be more of a morning-type listen or, say, one that can be played outside with friends who may not necessarily be devotees of the genre.

OVRFWRD is one of the up-and-coming stars of instrumental prog. I first became acquainted with them during 2018’s ProgDay. Their music really shines in live performance, as also can be heard on Occupations of Uninhabited Space, which contains in-studio live versions of tracks from their first two albums as well two tunes that later appeared on Blurring the Lines (as well as a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Genghis Khan”). But they have become very accomplished studio musicians as well.

If I have one criticism of StarStuff, it’s the relative brevity of the album, clocking in at just 39 minutes. But that’s a minor complaint , and a feature that one might see as a virtue than a defect (and a near-perfect length for those whose preferred form of listening is vinyl). StarStuff is another strong effort from this group, hopefully one of many more to come.


Track Listing
1. Firelight
2. Let it Burn (King George)
3. StarStuff
4. Look Up
5. Daybreak
6. Zathras
7. From Parts Unknown

Added: August 22nd 2021
Reviewer: Aaron Steelman
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 553
Language: english

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