Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Aug. 16, 2013
Overhang PartyComplete Studio Recordings (Important)
In 1991, the year punk broke via Nirvana's Nevermind, an altogether different movement seized the Japanese underground. As documented by PSF's Tokyo Flashback series, speed freaks like Ghost, High Rise, and White Heaven ushered in a second wave of heavy psych on the island country. Overhang Party were late to the scene, but the power trio still had a considerable impact. This compact, 4-CD retrospective serves as the group's long-overdue stateside introduction. Overhang Party 1, a private press from 1993 limited to 200 copies, continues the noisy legacy of Keiji Haino and Les Rallizes Dénudés, all free-form meditations and squalling feedback. 1994's numerical follow-up adds structure to the chaos, just enough to let founding guitarist Rinji Fukuoa rip on the volcanic psych-blues "La Fièvre" and cliffhanger drone "Falling." "Which Is the Shadow?" sounds like a Japanese 13th Floor Elevators, while a bonus live version of "My Blue Heaven," with guest guitarists Michio Kurihara and Akira Yamanouchi, reaches peak ascension. Final studio album, 1998's Overhang Party IV, marks the band's cornerstone achievement, a sprawling double album initially built around a series of cyclical keyboard phrases. Imagine an LP side based around the intro to the Who's "Baba O'Riley." "Then the Ship Sank" and "Winter Lovers," in particular, strike a rare equilibrium between grand ambition and raw power. Consider the fourth disc, dubbed Lost Recordings, added incentive.