Ovrfwrd — Starstuff
(Bandcamp 798576029791, 2020, CD / LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2020-12-15
With each successive album, this Minneapolis band keeps getting better. They started out at a pretty high level with their 2013 debut, and they’ve kept up the good work ever since. StarStuff continues their upward trend, presenting seven solid tracks of instrumental progressive rock that’s informed by the classic music of the genre without being confined by it. Most listeners will probably have their attention grabbed by Chris Malmgren’s heavy organ work on the opening track, which brings to mind some of the instrument’s kings (Jon Lord, Ken Hensley, and so on). Mark Ilaug’s guitars are outstanding as well, and on the second track he brings an acoustic to the mix to add a different flavor. Richard Davenport (drums) and Kyle Lund (bass) are a formidable rhythm section, holding the complex arrangements together. Guests provide occasional percussion and flute, and Malmgren also gets his hands on piano, Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, and other keyboards. All the compositions are imaginative and interesting, full of nice transitions, and the majority fall into the four-to-five minute range in length, never overstaying their welcome. Another thing that should be mentioned is that the production is stellar, with all the instruments sounding clear and distinct in spite of the denseness of the arrangements at times. For progressive rock that doesn’t venture into RIO or avant territory, it doesn’t get much better than this — fans of the genre should definitely take note of Ovrfwrd if they haven’t already.
Related artist(s): Ovrfwrd
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