January 19, 2016
A mixture of styles and sonic layers set the stage for a significant message on the self-titled release from Over Alders. This album has a flow and feeling like a soundtrack for a movie. Each song is it’s own scene, standing on it’s own but showing you more and more as the record unfolds. This alt-rock duo has put together a collection of tracks that explore a multitude of emotions and concepts. Jason Henderson Amare (vocals/guitar/keys/piano/bass/percussion) & Tiffany Mericle (vocals/piano/keys) have well thought out vocals and lyrics that address topics like gender equality & the subtleties in relationships. I’ve always been a fan of records that showcase various sounds and styles because you can explore them for a longer time. On this LP, Over Alders deliver that same diversity that will keep the listener feeling engaged and connected.
As I was driving around our beautiful city, listening to this record, I was intrigued by what type of songs would be coming up. You can hear singer songwriter, rock, and ambient influences in the selection of songs. By the time I got to the seventh song “Doorway”, I had heard a large range of styles that managed to also sound cohesive. For some first time listeners this approach to songwriting can be jarring as they are beginning to form an opinion about the artist. However I feel the diversity in this album creates opportunities to get a glimpse into different parts of the artist’s mind. If you are a fan of albums that evolve over time this is one you need to pick up. With any record I buy I find myself liking a group of songs when I first start listening. The truth is there are songs on every album that take longer to connect with. I always find it’s satisfying to make a connection with a song after having heard it a good amount of times.
Jason and Tiffany have a special balance in their voice. Jason’s vocals remind me of one my favorite singers, Alain Johannes of Eleven who was also in, Queens of The Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, and many more great bands. I’m a long time fan of the band Eleven and in a way the music of Over Alders has the same spirit to it. On the song “My Way” Jason keeps you absorbed with his approach to the melody. This song had me captivated from the beginning thanks to the percussion and moving bass line. After being drawn in by the acoustic riffs and strings I found profound lyrics that address some heavy subjects. I applaud them for having the courage to share the things that are important to them. Throughout the album both of their vocals dance back and forth between counter melodies and harmonies. Tiffany has the ability to draw you into a song with her voice alone. You’ll find the contrast of a playful melody up against an important message in the song “Smile”. It’s this juxtaposition and dynamic attribute that made me really appreciate the songwriting and production of the songs.
When producing a project some artists focus too much on continuity and that may limit their creativity. I don’t feel like Jason and Tiffany put up many walls when it came to presenting ideas for this project. I am interested to see where they go from here and hope they keep the same methodology moving forward. As a request I’d like to see them dive further into the ambient rock realm because I feel their ability to write strong melodies could really shine there. Over Alders have a lot of different things to offer your ears and in my mind that is their biggest strength. This album is a fitting companion to any music lover with an eclectic taste.
Catch Over Alders on January 26th at Mississippi Pizza, and pick up the album in person!