The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Austin Powell, June 28, 2013, Music


Before divorce, there's just decay: cold stares, silent dinners, Netflix evenings. Overseas – the debut collaboration between Austin's Will Johnson (Centro-matic/South San Gabriel), David Bazan (Pedro the Lion/Headphones), and the Kadane brothers (Bedhead/the New Year) – isn't an explicit concept album about the stages of separation, but it doesn't stray far from the subject, either. "I'm thinking back to a sensual act I enjoyed with a girl in my teens, while me and the Mrs. exchange goodnight kisses, roll over, pretend we're asleep," recounts Bazan through clinched teeth on "Old Love." That's familiar territory for Bazan (see "Options" from 2002's Control), but the combination of the Kadanes' fraught underpinnings and Johnson's crooked harmony on "Here (Wish You Were)" and "Came With the Frame" make for some of the most unnerving work of his career. The shadow of the late Vic Chesnutt looms large as well – the first session took place days after his death in December 2009 – particularly for Johnson, whose sparse, intuitive percussion leaves lots of room for long exhales. His "Ghost to Be" floats an incredible work of cryptic impressionism in the mold of Bedhead's slo-core classic WhatFunLifeWas. (Overseas docks at the Parish Saturday, August 3.)


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