Sunday, December 04, 2022

Canadian newcomers Overlap make a dazzling impression with debut single ‘Flight 608’

In a landscape as crowded with impressive new acts as that of contemporary alternative rock, to be able to stand out one needs to make an entrance capable of leaving a lasting impression. 

Canadian outfit Overlap, whose sounds couple the dirty guitar chords reminiscent of old-school grunge (think Incubus for atmospheres but with Nirvana’s direct approach) with a more modern, slightly post-punk sensitivity, have certainly done so with ‘Flight 608’. 

The 2022 release is their first studio single, and as such it cannot escape the difficult task of being a calling card of sorts for the band; there is clearly an awareness of this that comes through in the precision and thoughtfulness of its production, but also in the choice of a track that is emotional and relatable and content, and sharply direct in sound, able to easily connect with a new listener and draw them into the band’s own soundscape.

Flight 609’ is a subjective-perspective narrative of a man embarking on a trip to go meet, and possibly reconnect with, an ex-girlfriend who has left him due to his own inability to be fully sincere with him. Familiar as the situation may be with anyone listening, it is also a delicate, inevitably emotional one and the song does not shy away from connecting with the complicated feelings it evokes.

Vocalist Hugo Goyet is to be particularly praised for his ability to channel the protagonist’s indecisiveness, his regrets, and his anxiety; the track is also craftily put together to not only tell a story, but to evoke a whole environment in the mind of those listening. It opens with the sounds of the airport, the murmur of the passing travellers, unaware of the protagonist’s turmoil, the impersonal tones of the tannoy. These provide an excellent contrast both for the heartfelt vocals and the wordless narrative woven by the guitar, which is perhaps, sound-wise, the true protagonist of this track due to both a very high level of technical prowess and much-needed attention to the instrumental bridges. The opening section has something of the slower Guns’n’Roses ballads, but as the song progresses the voice of the guitar becomes entirely Overlap’s own.

The track takes all the time it needs for its emotional exploration to unfold; at five minutes and a half, it might be short in comparison with some of the rock ballads it inevitably echoes, but able to enjoy a more relaxed pace than the introspective second-generation grunge tracks which are clearly among its inspirations. Its slow burn feels thematic, mirroring the inner tensions of the speaking voice; but it also allows for some clever crescendos, supported by a rhythm section – drums especially – which is essential to the song's flow without ever becoming too intrusive. It is a track that has a meditative feel to it while still allowing for a broader sound which would be a good fit for live performance, and as a calling card, it’s both a bold and a confident one.

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: Flight 608’ Official Single Cover

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