Lately, there’s been an abundance of pesudo-shoegaze indie that all promises the same thing––relaxing tempos and thoughtful melodies. And because there’s a sea of bands that fit this description, it takes a truly memorable album to bop your head to and in some ways call it your own. Overlake‘s debut album Sighs is one of these albums, a connected anthology of nine thought-out tracks that deliver what they propose.
The appropriately titled “First” sets a moody, ambient tone reminiscent of Hammock, with sparkly clean guitar lines ringing out gently over a soft backbeat. Like other bands who prefer instrumentals to go into heavier songs, Overlake follows it up with “Disappearing,” a mellow carriage ride with vintage guitars and early eighties slow-rock vocals. Almost akin to the Rolling Stones or Steely Dan at some points, the classic rock vibe never leaves but is embellished with a contemplative atmosphere of layers of sound. This old-meets-new approach is a hallmark of the band’s sound, harkening back to their roots of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. while nodding to modern alternative acts smattering the indie scene.
There is a varying energy that connects the album, but it seems to all even out with the right balance of calm and action. “Fell Too Far” is a romp through mid-2000s alt-rock territory, with bassist Lysa Opfer gracefully supplementing Tom Barrett’s sensitive leads. The amalgamation of old and new continues that will have you tapping your foot in no time. Overlake’s solid grooves and delicate melodies combine well and would perform nicely with any random indie act today. The band themselves are not your typical act––there’s an obscure emotion to their sound that makes the authenticity pop in vivid color while making for a restful listen. “We’ll Never Sleep” is wonderfully reminiscent to From Indian Lakes and sounds like a lake itself, both placid and reflective. The almost six-minute mark demands quality from such an opus in today’s terse world, and the song indeed lives up to it. It doesn’t feel like a long song and tiptoes on ice to make one of the best songs on the record.
Sighs is a marvelous first album from a promising young band from Jersey that has set the stage for not only a great year, but a great career. Fans of the contemporary indie scene will find something to live, while diehards from the new wave age will resonate with many of the sounds on the record. If nothing else, it deserves a slot in your iTunes––a sure sign of a glorious LP.