Overcoats, who ranked #3 in last year’s NPR Listeners Poll of favorite new artists, is a duo of former college roommates Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell. The two were drawn to each other when they first met as teenagers in 2011, finding connection in a love of diverse musical styles and forging a closeness that verges on sisterhood. Both women describe the first time hearing each other sing as an epiphany leading to personal, individual discovery, and the two co-wrote all twelve songs on their new LP YOUNG. The album is rich with experimentation and sonic surprises. Yet Elion and Mitchell’s seamless vocal interplay and contemplative lyrics remain at the core of Overcoats’ sound. YOUNG, which is about the passage into womanhood, is sung through the shared experience of two best friends. Overcoats’ music draws strength from vulnerability, finding light through darkness and the catharsis of simple, honest songwriting. To make YOUNG, the duo enlisted the production team of Nicolas Vernhes (Daughter, The War On Drugs, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs) and experimental artist Autre Ne Veut, with additional production from Myles Avery and mixing by Ben Baptie (Låpsley, Lianne La Havas).
Overcoats’ rare resonance is evident from YOUNG’s opening tones. Album opener “Father” unfurls in clouds of three-dimensional sound, as their harmonies slide from brassy to silken with elegant ease while floating over muted rhythms wrapped in lush swells of synthesizers. On first single “Hold Me Close,” the duo’s melodies are pure and in unison, providing two distinct but entwined perspectives on the complexity of love. “The Fog” is a bay of lonesome, oscillating synth chords, while “Leave The Light On” layers looped and transposed vocals over thumping two-step 808 and punctuations of club-ready brass. Showing the true breadth of influence, songs like “Little Memory” and “Smaller Than My Mother” are laced with gospel and jazz, strands woven with the natural touch of Vernhes and Autre Ne Veut.
“The duo takes a fresh approach to a time-tested formula, presenting sentimental songwriting over electronic beats, both hearty and sparse. ‘Hold Me Close’ achieves its atmosphere by wedging an intriguing tension between the heft of its instrumental and the splendor of its deliberate harmony… A modest tune that unfolds with disarming intricacy.” -NPR
“‘Hold Me Close’ is another introspective gem that melds the duo’s expert storytelling with a strong yet subdued production.” -The Wild Honey Pie
Recommended Tracks: Track 5, “Hold Me Close,” Track 11, “Kai’s Song,” Track 4, “Leave The Light On,” Track 1, “Father,” Track 2,”Smaller Than My Mother”
RIYL: Autre Ne Veut, Tennis, Majical Cloudz, Au Revoir Simone, TOPS, How to Dress Well, Anna of the North, Tei Shi, Youth Lagoon, Sylvan Esso
Label: Arts & Crafts
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