Brick Nova calls Overgrown their first EP, which is impressive for a band that has been steadily releasing music since 2016. Their earlier full-length work like On The Move was characterized by smooth production and traditional alternative and indie rock riffs, which are present on “Overgrown” in somewhat lesser quantities. The work is still overwhelmingly and unmistakably alt-rock, but the production is a little bit messier than some previous releases, which can often work in the band’s favor.
The opening track “8 to 3” finds lead singer Tom Drakeford as the narrator of a failing relationship, singing self-deprecating lyrics like “I know I’m not the best to be around” quietly over an inoffensive rock instrumental. The song sticks to its safe, alternative roots, feeling grounded while not taking itself too seriously. There are flourishes like a charming guitar solo by Paul Dallas (sick rock-star name right there), which add some flavor to a track that does sound more than a little generic at times.
The EP’s title track “Overgrown” is a much better application of the band’s obvious skill, showing off interesting guitar licks, a more interesting indie perspective, and the apparent use of light sampling techniques. The slightly messy production works wonders for this track, adding a hint of rock authenticity and accentuating the stringy acoustic guitar that plays throughout. Brick Nova makes a stronger effort to add more musical variation and play around with the genre boundaries they’ve limited themselves to in the past. Amidst the high-energy acoustic folk noodlings, Drakeford sings “The world turns / but I’m not in it”, implying a distance between himself, his band, and his world.
“Overgrown”, like “8 to 3”, suffers from a lacking vocal delivery that creates a sort of disparate energy between the instrumental and the lyrics. Brick Nova’s earlier material featured a much more aggressive style of vocalization that may have suited this track better and ultimately could have made the EP much more well rounded, but instead it seems that Drakeford is opting to beget a sense of intimacy through his vocal delivery, which isn’t specifically a bad thing.
This sense of intimacy is most present on “Stay All You Want”, the soft, lullaby-ish closer to this EP. Double tracked vocals put the romantic lyrics front and center, while the instrumental boasts the best, cleanest production on the EP thus far. “Stay All You Want” builds to an effective emotional climax, but still falls into the trappings of a typical pop-rock tune, which does make the track feel a little tiresome over the course of its 5 minutes.
Brick Nova is a group of extremely talented players who have been evolving ever since they emerged. On Overgrown, they dip their toes in the water of further experimentation to great success. If their next release can venture further into this yet unexplored territory for them, Brick Nova will shine brighter than ever.
• Interesting production adds a lot of flavor and personality to the EP
• Consistent and interesting songwriting and lyricism
• Quality musicianship all around
• That same production can also make certain sonic elements fail to stand out
• The persistence to the Alternative/Indie Rock flavor of songwriting makes songs feel generic/bland