Rarely does a record that’s little more than the sum of its parts prove to be worthy of any prolonged attention.* Now It’s Overhead’s _‘Fall Back Open’_ bucks the trend considerably. Then again, that’s hardly surprising; the parts here include one studio whiz-kid (Andy LeMaster), *Azure Ray’s angelic Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, and fleeting contributions from Conor Oberst *and *Michael Stipe. Sound impressive on paper? You should hear it on shiny plastic compact disc.
The overall effect is intoxicating – some sort of triangulated point in the middle of REM, New Order and Statistics (whose Denver Dalley is, of course, part of fellow Saddle Creekers Desaparecidos), yet all the time augmented by a beauty uncommon in primarily studio-born music. The electric bleeps and clicks that lie scattered across aching swathes of strings and delicate guitars work perfectly, like crickets serenading sleepers on a warm summer's night. Songs like _‘Antidote’ _and the title-track itself can render the listener inert to all else in a few seconds, such is their immediate emotional impact.
Whilst there’s nothing here that quite matches Azure Ray’s heavenly ‘Hold On Love’ or Cursive’s 2003 emotional rollercoaster, ‘The Ugly Organ’, ‘Fall Back Open’ is proof positive that, for the moment at least, Saddle Creek can do no wrong whatsoever. Long may the trend continue.
8Mike Diver's Score