The genre description on Ultimate Overshare’s Facebook page reads as pretty tongue-in-cheek–they call themselves “Remedial Math Rock / Dream Pop Plus™.” But on their debut EP Rumble Pak, the Virginia quintet runs that gamut and more, throwing some emo and shoegaze into the “plus” category and delivering six tracks saturated with solid rock writing and riffing.
The range of their sound makes sense when you consider the band is something of a local supergroup. DMV stalwarts will recognize singer/guitarists Pablo Cabrera and Marc Saucer, singer/bassist Narty Tran, drummer Jasiu Mich, and synth player Tadeusz Mich from a venn diagram of other acts, including A MARC Train Home, Soul Meets Body, Older Notes., and Ruse de Guerre. (They recorded the EP at Cabrera’s home studio, Analog Approach, in Fairfax, Virginia.)
That means they have a wealth of experience behind them, but Rumble Pak is its own thing, best exemplified by “Gotta Juice!,” a fun instrumental track where everyone’s unique strengths really gel with each other. Over its hustling beat, Cabrera and Saucer trade dreamy riffs with Tadeusz, whose electric pianos and chippy synths contribute to the track’s nostalgic vibe. It has the kind of bubbling, propulsive energy that would feel right at home on an F-Zero soundtrack–you could hear it blaring from an arcade racing game cabinet, if it weren’t so hi-fi.
Much of the project draws from that backward-looking attitude, as in “That’s No Way To Live,” an emo jam about growing up and reckoning with a past full of unhealthy friendships. After all that regret, it lands on an energetic note–the band picks up speed, as though trying to outpace their mistakes, and in the process, a run of squealing guitar licks gives the EP one of its coolest instrumental moments.
At the center of the sound is a deep sincerity, and in general, the feelings land thanks to expressive vocals and strong band performances–notwithstanding some awkward lyrical phrasing on “Yr 2 Nice 2 Me,” an otherwise fine dream pop power ballad with soaring power chords, sentimental falsetto, and a pleasant surprise of a keyboard outro. The EP closer lands just as earnestly. On “Happi Billiards,” the guys get conversational amongst themselves, again reflecting on friendship and the anxieties that come with it, but with a more reassuring tone.
For a band like Ultimate Overshare with multiple vocalists and writers, the challenge is developing a cohesive identity. In its through-line of nostalgia and camaraderie, Rumble Pak starts the ensemble off on the right foot while still leaving room for their individual voices. With an overall polished production, its best tracks capture the dynamic sense of hanging out with good pals, having some unexpected laughs and knowing it’s safe to get real when you’ve got to.