Now It’s Overhead: Dark Light Daybreak

There’s nothing incredibly impressive to hear the first time you play Dark Light Daybreak by Now It’s Overhead.

There are no flashes of virtuosity, no stretches of intensity, no trickery behind the sound board, no gimmickry in the songwriting. It’s a guy in a studio with a bunch of guitars, a rhythm section and at times a drum machine.

Now It’s Overhead started off as a studio project for sound engineer Andrew LeMaster, but it’s evolved into a full-fledged band. Dark Light Daybreak sounds like the result of such a development.

The only thing that could possibly reel a listener in is the sense there’s more to music than what the surface indicates. It’s catchy if only because it’s not trying to be.

After a few plays, Dark Light Daybreak takes hold. As the title indicates, it’s a dark work, but it’s not ominous or depressive.

The more atmospheric tracks, such as "Night Vision" or "Estranged", are offset by rougher, rhythmically-driven songs, such as the angular "Walls" or the lilting "Meaning to Say".

The relative sparseness of "Believe What They Decide" gets a rude interruption by a plaintive chorus. The insistent shuffle of "Type A" is a trying hook, while "Nothing to Say" concludes the album on a tender note.

Dark Light Daybreak is accomplished for being smart but not precocious, interesting but not overwhelming. LeMaster doesn’t oversell his songs, and he doesn’t sell them short either.

Such even balance would seem to be unremarkable, but the strength of the songs — and the distinctness of their production — makes it wholly remarkable.

Dark Light Daybreak is a surprising, satisfying find. It’s an appealing work from the outset, but it’s real beauty is experienced with repeated listening.