Review Summary: Overview are so fucking serious about ripping face, they kill bitches to ensure their success.
It’s hard to think of a compelling lead for Forty-Four Stone Tigers
for no particular reason. Thus, I think a peek into Overview’s press release/bio would be for the best, as its quite telling.
“this *** is serious. the former-five-piece overview is so serious about their music that they ***ing killed their spare guitar player. the band’s first full-length, "the virgin misconception", is a progressive, alternative rock statement about modern society, with a sound that is both experimental and energetic. however, the four core members of overview are devoted to honing their craft, and wanted to create a more focused and forceful sound. to reach their ideal vocal-driven indie rock sound, they knew they had to eliminate the second guitar player.
they did what they had to do.”
Yeah, they are probably lying about killing their second guitarist, but needless to say Overview are an interesting band. While you can draw some influences and comparisons by listening to them, they are unique enough where doing so is really just superfluous. Nailing themselves as “progressive indie rock”, Overview are less progressive and more hard rock than they might lead you to believe, but still concoct something truly interesting and fun.
Forty-Four Stone Tigers
took me a little while to get into, and it was probably because of the way singer Spencer meshes with the rest of the band, which is a tad bit harsh. While the rest of the band has a pretty solid indie rock thing going on, Spencer really sounds like a true hard rock singer, and his vocal melodies often don’t complement what Brian, Sam and Greg (guitar, bass, and drums respectively) are doing, and at first its kind of annoying. As time wore on me, I couldn’t help but appreciate what a positive thing this ended up being, as it makes listening to Overview the unique experience that it is.
That said, as cool as Spencer’s voice might be, the bands strength comes from the playing of its guitarist and bass guitarist, Brian and Greg. Brian lays down some sweet lead guitar lines and solos throughout the album, and puts his effects pedals to good use. He realizes that less is more in his game, and his playing on “Maybe Dead at 27” is arguably some of the best I’ve heard all year. Bassist Greg is a surprising standout as he provides some stellar basslines on nearly every song, and even provides what can almost be construed as a bass solo on the break during “Desert Sand”.
Then again, even with the bands instrumental strength and vocal prowess, it could all very well be for nothing if they can’t write a song worth a ***. Luckily, Overview have a very good sense for what they want to make, and bring some interesting ideas to the table. Often, songs sound like post-rock indie affairs, with swelling intros that lead up to booming choruses. Overview throw in enough curveballs to keep you on your toes at all times, and at any moment a song can metamorphosis into something completely and completely be so, so good.
They hit a nice divide between melancholy and fun, with pretty juvenile but still competent lyrical work. While “Scorpion Woman” is a pretty straightforward rocker, all the other songs have much more depth to them, even if they may not be as immediately gratifying. “Maybe Dead at 27” is the most impressive song on the album, and really has a sense of near catharsis that suit’s the band well. The rest of the songs are about equally good, although the beginning of “Desert Sand” which, while acoustic, is still pretty boring for the most part until about the halfway mark, where Overview get back into what they are good at. The instrumental title track features some electronic experimentation which will hopefully be explored more in depth on following records, as it helps the overall atmosphere on the album for 3 minutes.
Forty-Four Stone tigers
is really a fantastic EP. Clocking in at just under half an hour, its not like there is a dearth of great music to be had, and Overview are close to being very, very hard to describe. Easily one of the best unsigned bands I’ve heard from California (and their Bay Area fans are absolutely rabid, by the way), Overview have the makings for great things in the future, and definitely have the potential to make something even greater than Forty-Four Stone Tigers
. However, this record is more than enough to satisfy any fan of the indie music scene at all, and is one of the best EP’s of 2007, hands down.