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CD Shorts: Overhang Party

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Complete Studio Recordings

(Important)

Four discs of avant rock from a little-known Japanese band may sound like an exercise in esoterica, but the complete studio recordings of Overhang Party are a revelation. The collection showcases the group’s command of a wide swath of styles from garage rock stomps to ecstatic folk dirges, and the singular stamp they put on all their material.

Their 1993 debut I documents the band at their most experimental and tentative, delivering improv-inspired workouts and massive drones that should appeal to fans of experimental metal. They threw themselves into more traditional song forms with II, including the reverb-drenched rocker “Stimulant Night” and psychedelic rave-up “La Fievre.”

An even bigger departure, III mixed gorgeous piano and string arrangements with muscular distortion and stately tempos. It’s the band’s zenith, the tunes seesawing between rapturous obliteration and oblique lyricism. 2005’s Last Recordings is their most varied, highlighted by the acoustic-tinged “Prayer of a Fool,” the beatific and soaring “Wolf, Scorpion, Earth Fang,” and the haunting slow-motion riffs of “Marseille.”

The vast majority of Overhang Party’s songs still sound vital, startling, and immediately pleasurable. They deserved a wider audience and this handsomely packaged collection makes their case in style.•

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