December 3, 2021

Ovrfwrd is a four-piece instrumental progressive rock band which was formed in 2012 in Minneapolis in the United States and StarStuff is the bands third studio album and, for the completists out there, they have also released a live album too.

They have kept the same line-up since inception being Kyle Lund on Bass, Richard Davenport on drums, Mark Ilaug on guitar and Chris Malmgren on keyboards. Rumour has it that there was supposed to be a vocalist involved but he didn’t turn up for the audition so the band made the decision there and then to be an instrumental band – nice story if true! This is most definitely progressive rock but with a distinct jazz flavour so you get elements of Gong, King Crimson and Soft Machine interlacing with some of the guitar driven prog that you can hear on Camel and early Porcupine Tree releases which makes the musical technically complex but all is based on a very melodic frame so it is always rewarding and very easy on the ear. The interplay between the musicians is exceptional and these guys all seem to have a telepathy that means that they are always ‘together’.

In the main, I almost always prefer my music with a singer but for some bands it really does work, try to imagine Camel’s masterpiece The Snow Goose with vocals and a shudder runs down your spine! The recording has a ‘live’ feel to it which gives it a real edge with bass, drums, guitar and keyboards all working together in total harmony. It’s always unfair to signal out one musician when they are so obviously working together as a unit but the guitar work of Mark Ilaug is exceptional and it most definitely has an Andy Latimer tone to it.

This is another of those albums that sound outstanding on headphones or when at home alone with the lights dimmed and relaxing in your favourite chair. This is not a chill out album, far from it, but a brilliant progressive and jazz tinged rock work out that is quite simple executed to perfection. All albums are available from the usual download and streaming services.

StarStuff

  1. Firelight (5:37)
  2. Let It Burn (King George (5:58)
  3. StarStuff (5:09)
  4. Look Up (8:21)
  5. Daybreak (2:48)
  6. Zathras (4:35)
  7. From Parts Unknown (6:25)