Fall, the sophomore album by New Jersey 3-piece Overlake, follows a simple Shoegaze / Dream Pop recipe.  Add swirly, reverb-drenched guitars, mix in steady driving bass lines and percussion, and top it off with subtle, but not muted vocals, that flourish between the instruments.  The result is an 8-song record that is classic by design, but wholly unique.

Opener “Unnamed November” sets the tone of Fall early on with the whirling guitars and vocals of Tom Barrett, and throbby bass lines and harmonized vocals of Lysa Opfer.  Tight percussion from Nick D’Amore keeps things just within the lines.  “Winter is Why” (seeing a theme here?) ups the urgency and aggression from the opener before moving into full-on Shoegaze territory with “You Don’t Know Everything”, one of several highlight tracks from the album.

Midway through the record, the pace hastens with “Can Never Tell”, a song that is reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. and Ride’s more alternative-pushing early style, but still safely within the boundaries of Shoegaze.  It is followed by the percussion-intense “Gardener’s Bell”, another stand-out song on the record.  An homage to Mark or completely unrelated?  You be the judge.

“And Again” starts simply enough with tom-tom drumming, a melodic repeating guitar riff and ethereal vocals. It continues on this way until around the two-and-a-half-minute mark where it erupts into a wall of fuzzy guitar and cymbal crashing. It’s really great and makes a strong case for the best of the album.

Buckle in for “Pines On A Beach”, a near 8-minute journey that highlights Barrett’s vocals more so than any other song on Fall, and is akin to some of Catherine Wheel’s quieter numbers. The album ends with the aptly named “Goodbye”, a song rich with wailing guitar and just below the surface vocals. And as any proper gaze record should end, the song ends with a solid minute of looping guitar reverb.

With Fall, Overlake has managed to create a highly enjoyable record that is instantly likeable on first listen. Like will turn to love on repeat listens and I expect will end up making many 2017 “best of” lists for fans of the genre.

Dave MacIntyre