Ever feel like bands peddling soaring, epic pop just pass you by like buses in a big city? You hop on, you hop off and you don’t give much thought to where they’re going next. Well, Only Yours is one bus that you should definitely be catching. In fact, if you can bear to keep running alongside the clumsy public transport metaphor, Overrun is a record you simply must not miss.
The Canadian quartet are fronted by songwriter/vocalist Lowell Sostomi who, with a delivery that is equal parts Chris Martin and Phil Oakey, charms and disarms with opener ‘Doubts’, its chorus confessing “you were right/to have your doubts/I let you down/this time”. The song marks out the band’s sonic territory: a marriage of glistening 80s keyboards, Edge guitars and contemporary, charging drums. The arresting (and equally catchy) ‘Different’ follows, brimming with dreams of a bright future and coming over like A-ha covering a Springsteen classic. Then title track ‘Overrun’, with a similarly hopeful sentiment - its protagonist seeking escape from existential stagnation - completes a hat-trick of stunningly slick hits-in-waiting.
It’s not often that albums go bam-bam-bam like this, as if each shining anthem has been casually pulled from an everlasting vat of songwriting nectar but as Overrun continues, the quality refuses to drop off and you become faintly aware that what you’re experiencing is a Classic Album. Albums, of course, are meant to be a relic of the physical-music era but this collection of songs is a defiant testament to their survival in the digital age. Amid pace-changes for the spacious ballad ‘Surely I’ and the disco-flavoured ‘Everlasting’; the wall-of synths that is ‘Hamburg’ and the sheer early 80s bliss of ‘Haunted by Love’ absolutely everything fits together in a perfect ten-song package. It’s possibly the most coherent record you will hear all year. And, at the risk of making rash promises, you will want to listen to it all year too because it has pretty much everything (I imagine) you’re after: punch, precision and passion; style, substance and Songs (yes, Songs with a capital S).
The musical confidence and sonic vitality coursing through Overrun has to be credited - in part at least - to legendary producer Joe Chiccarelli. He’s enabled Only Yours to turn out the kind of record that could spawn hit after hit after hit, given the right exposure. All you have to do now is climb aboard. If you want me, I’ve taken a seat on the top deck and will be here now until the last stop.
Review by Rich Barnard