First off, don’t try to pin-point as to what type of music this is because you will rack your brain trying to figure it out. Over The Hill and their new record, Looking For A Spark, is in a league of its own. Hailing from Austin, Texas, OTH is made up of: Morgan Coy as lead vocalist & guitarist, Johnny Gasyna on drums & some vibes, Bridget Evarts on bass and Douglas Ferguson on synth & organs. Over The Hill doesn’t pertain to old age here, but rather new-age material with a major twist. I would best phrase this album as Looking For A Spark of Random Insanity.
The record I received came in a gold-covered packaging that seemed to shine right in my eyes. I have to admit the gold was very appealing and really intrigued to me as to what was inside this golden square. When I looked on the back and saw that songs 1-6 were grouped into SIDE A and 7-10 were with SIDE B, this definitely made me think some more. What exactly was over this hill and just what type of spark was I going to ignite when listening to this CD?
The answer to that last question I still have yet to figure out. OTH’s sound is so outlandish and is nothing like I’ve heard before. Coy actually used to be a literary reader and has since helped create the multi-media arts label Monofonus Press. Monofonus stresses to help bring together musicians, visual artists and writers to create one unique brand of packaging. Looking For A Spark is exactly that with evident literary & visual soundscapes & dreamscapes scattered throughout the record. It looks as if Coy and company are setting out to be visionary artists/musicians. Now, we shall see if this notion stands to be true or fallacy.
The album begins with a highly peculiar tone both vocally & musically. You hear a rock beat, but with elements of bluegrass and even semi-yodeling. Next up on “Instrument” you get a short yet extremely deep-sounding display of instrumentation. On track five, “Dead of Night”, you get that rock beat back but now with out-of-the-blue ranting/raving-type singing displayed by Coy. Side A wraps up with a very cool guitar part with trippy, drawn-out vocals on “Beyond Beyond”. From what I’ve heard thus far on Looking For A Spark, I’d have to say way….way…beyond the norms of music. Side B started up with “Sunrise”, which entered a world of wonder and took you on a spiritual journey. Song eight, “Blood in My Mouth”, was my favorite track on the record because of its infectious, rockin’ beat. OTH even seemed to be on the verge of rockabilly at times while at the same time offering a very new-wave/alternative vibe. I truly loved the overall movement of this number. The next song, “Singing to the Dead”, displayed a real, old-time country feel while Over The Hill ended things on a solemn note on “Over There”. Not to mention, the final song, once again, provided another nice guitar section.
OTH are bringing the following styles/moods to the table: psychedelic, spirituality, rock, blue-grass/country and new-fashioned alternative. I have to admit that these four individuals are highly creative & original going completely against the grain with this new project. What I experienced was very odd-sounding at times while proving to be 100% out of the ordinary. These artists are breaking the mold, breaking the chains and tearing down musical boundaries with this new work. I actually preferred Side B because it just offered somewhat of a better sense of direction and meaning. To me, Side A was more confusing and harder to follow at times due to its complete randomness of sounds. It actually was a bit mind-numbing and even ridiculous to listen to at moments.
In the end, OTH supply a straight-out-of-left-field vibe that fans will either relate to or not get at all. Sometimes, different is good and extremely refreshing to the right people and I’m sure these Austin men will find that bunch. For more on Over The Hill and their latest release, Looking For A Spark, SKOPE out www.myspace.com/overth.
By Jimmy Rae[Rating: 2/5]