Overlord Ticker Symbols

Right from the first track of Ticker Symbols, it is clear that Philadelphia’s Overlord are making no attempt to conceal their musical influences. The group’s third album is the work of unabashed Anglophones fixated with ’80s Manchester jangle and British invasion hooks. The songs are swathed in muffled lo-fi production, which provides the songs with an early shoegazer veneer, but this cannot obscure the dominant focus of the album — pop. It’s something the group are more than capable of pulling off — as on the tongue-in-cheek Smiths tribute "The Very Next Person Who Holds My Hand Can Have Me.” Singer George Pasles employs a flowery, melodramatic lyrical style, and it’s desperately hard to avoid comparing his narrative voice to that of the infamous Morrissey. But something doesn’t seem quite right as Pasles goes blue-faced trying to contort his verbose acrobatics around his songs. Utterances like "byzantine ribaldry” and "moral torques are in static equilibrium” should be used with caution at the best of times. Morrissey, meanwhile, has a distinct knack for dry wit and keen poetic instinct to make lyrics like these work for him in spite (or because) of any perceived pomposity. Pasles still has some work to do in this regard, because on Ticker Symbols, he comes across as forced and clumsy. This is a shame, because otherwise the songs on this record have a palpable capability to get lodged very firmly in people’s heads. (Storm Tower)