The Overtones

Saturday Night at the Movies

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The Overtones have a pretty good thing going. A rags-to-stardom story, the group's five distinct voices and soaring five-part harmonies combine with contemporary recording techniques to make the classic R&B, doo wop, and pure vocal pop material they favor sound like something more than nostalgia or a facsimile, which isn't as easy a thing to pull off as it sounds. This set, their third album, features songs that were all prominent parts of various movies (there are also three original songs here that instead use movies as a central compositional theme), and again the group uses several different producers, and again the final product is unified in sound, although it does verge on dance club disco at times. The group's fans are going to love it. Highlights include a doo wop-inspired version of "Pretty Woman" complete with horns and background vocal "shoop shoops," a fully orchestrated "Moon River," a feisty "Hit the Road Jack" with a guest vocal spot from Beverley Knight, and an energetic "Runaway," but if the Overtones' formula works, and it works surprisingly well sometimes, it's because the songs the group chooses to cover are such classics, and the approach, which updates them rather than replicates them, allows the group to escape simple cover band nostalgia status.

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