A companion piece to the duo's California, Norfolk album, Overstrand consists of unused takes, remixes, and otherwise unheard cuts, making for an interesting alternate vision of the original album. Being the accomplished and elegant performers they are, Bowness and Chilvers' work together here can't be called rough sketches on the face of it; there's a delicacy and careful restraint that informs everything here much as it does on California, Norfolk. Consider "Post-Its," one of the stunners from that album; even if most of the arrangement is quiet organ and guitar plus Bowness' vocals, it's no less compelling and arguably even more so now, Bowness' lyrics all the more to the point. "Winter With You," the lengthiest song on that album, is even longer here, an 11-minute-plus effort that's even more stripped down and meditative. At points it's just Bowness and Chilvers' soft keyboards, though the latter also adds haunting, swirling guitar loops and textures, contributing even more depth. The most different alternate, "Chant Five," only bears superficial connections to "Chant One," being an instrumental where Bowness' voice is simply texture over dank electronic moans and Sam Sutton's hints of wood flute swirling in the mix. As for the otherwise unheard songs, "Sorry Looking Soldier" is a nice, just proggy enough affair -- something about it feels very 1975 Genesis for some reason -- while "Pear" is the superior song, a slow, melancholic blend of keyboards, guitars (including a marvelous, droned out guitar solo from Michael Bearpark), and some of Bowness' most affecting singing.
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