Overmono’s debut album Good Lies is full of rich textures, encapsulating breakbeats and some fluid songwriting as they continue to showcase the range and potency of their music. Like most dance/electronic music, there’s usually a bridge between tones, allowing sonorous self-reflections to exist within a zone of dance fever. The synchronistic connectivity the two have comes from this notion of dancing your problems away, and it does so without being so black and white. There’s depth and nuance within the productions that you’re inhabiting a new sphere of music where vibes are there to get you elevated, but at the same time, intaking these rich layers of sounds that make the whole electronic genre more than just something to dance to. Avalon Emerson’s debut & the Charm (2023) is a great, recent example of that, and Overmono continues to reflect that notion with Good Lies, along with past songs and EPs like “Bby” and Cash Romantic. Though more partial to the Emerson album, Good Lies comes and stays graciously, bringing more sumptuous flavors and an overall immersive vibe that you won’t want to shut off quickly, despite shortcomings.
Overmono has consistently taken various directions to much effect, shifting from the bombastic to the more rhythmic and melancholy, the latter of which is naturally effervescent on Good Lies and Everything U Need EP. Retrospectively, it’s also Overmono’s most personal work, and it’s for reasons outside of some introspective lyrics. It knows how to maneuver repetition for a vast worldview inhabiting the flow of sounds, allowing for these sentiments to carry retention within one’s love for them. It separates a lesser track like “Is U” from something as timidly profound as “Feelings Pain,” creating stumbling drawbacks within its cruise-like progression in the production. Good Lies has fluidity from start to finish, with some sonic components becoming motifs within a song’s distinctive use of electronic instruments. Ranging from the faintish and intimate vocals on tracks like “Good Lie” or “Cold Water.” It transfers through this conceptual bravado, where lies feel equated through its vocal performances and vocal samples. It’s how Overmono can shift between the Dance mode of tracks like “Feelings Pain” to more of a push with a breakbeat core in “Arla Fearn.”
It’s similarly reflective in the transitions between “Cold Blooded” and “Skulled.” Though both add additional flair to the rhythms created with the percussion and synths, they balance a distinct tempo and keep contrasting sounds feeling more connected than maligned. It’s part of an ever-progressing vibe, like if it were getting this mixed live in front of you, but the old fashion way without the different cuts between songs, shortening or lengthening them, more so vinyl to vinyl. Overmono, unfortunately, skips a slight beat by adding a separate track outro to “Good Lies,” extending its exposure and creating a bridge to a more dynamic creative palette. Though there is a fluid transition from “Good Lie (Outro)” into the radiantly techno-savvy “Walk Thru Water,” the former still feels like an afterthought as we get to hear the individual strengths of the Welsh Duo elsewhere on the album. Tom Russell comes from a Hard Techno background, while Ed Russell has worked more with breakbeat and the embodiments of dance-rave music. Bringing those two together offers a distinct palette that meshes – when reflecting in hindsight, were snugger within the contextual dynamic, they become slightly excessive in the long run.
For its synchronicity transitions, there can be both positive and negative in Electronic/Dance music – positive, like how Beyonce orchestrated the crossfades on Renaissance, or negative, like other instrumentation-heavy Electronica, where the vibe becomes engrained in the aesthetic that, for some, it may not gel till later, like on the latest album by The Blaze. At first, I felt it with “Is U” and “Calon,” which feel too enclosed within the vibe that you readily get lost flowing with the tracks near the end. “Calon” isn’t as immersive and more streamlined like “Is U” – never taking the extra step to take it to auspicious directions like the track that precedes it, “Sugarushhh.” It leaves you disappointed when reflecting in hindsight as they don’t bring the same bravado as they do with the atmospheric melancholy or the luscious breakbeats. There’s a synergy between Tom and Ed Russell, where, as brothers, they are tuned to the soundscapes as they get placed and steered in different directions, like the dynamic “Sugarushhh” or the atmospheric breakbeats on “Skulled,” where it has this spacey like backing akin to something from an alien Sci-Fi film. You can sense how they easily find purpose within the styles the other has worked more in.
Overmono’s debut shines through the rough patches as it delivers beautiful soundscapes, which get stuck in your head in the long run. You’re getting something resonant and potent, keeping that aesthetic of dancing feelings away pertinent through the transitions. It stumbles a bit, but it isn’t a pure deterrent, more just middling spaces that lingers on its smooth pacing for a few seconds, but you’re getting something great. I didn’t love it as much as the Avalon Emerson album, but something I know I won’t stop replaying. Definitely check out Overmono, as they come with the Juice, and make sure it’s known as the album closes on a powerful note.