New York indie-pop duo Overcoats have released their first post-pandemic material in the form of the new EP Used To Be Scared Of The Dark.
From the get go, the EP’s title track establishes what the group have evolved towards and what they’ve kept from their old sound. The indelible harmonies are still in the place, but the buzzy electronic drive found on The Fight is replaced with a gentler, folkier sound. ‘Used To Be Scared Of The Dark’ is sonically similar to last year’s ‘Drift’, showcasing the slower and more contemplative side of the duo that’s become the modus operandi for the new EP.
As the folky affectations of the title track give way to the pulsating ‘Wait for Me Darling’, the EP’s mood is firmly established. Contemplation and order have taken the place of flightiness and chaos. “Working on these songs with friends and collaborators in the year following The Fight’s release felt like an important step in the journey,” the band explain. “These songs tell the other side of the story. They unpack what it looks like after the “fight.” We wanted to talk about resolution and the moments where you learn to live with everything you’ve learned about the world.”
Ultimately, each track radiates a certain kind of content and affirmation that has been bubbling under the surface for a while now. It’s not wishful thinking when the lines: “Have we finally found peace of mind, so many miles apart, we’re both doing fine,” show up in the title track. Self-growth and progression are the major themes, ones that just about anyone who has lived through a global pandemic can surely relate to.
Even as catharsis and resolution abound, it can only go so far. The EP is frustratingly short: a brilliantly quick burst of emotion, but one that can feel fleeting and gone too soon. But hey, if the complaint is that I was left wanting more, that’s a ringing endorsement.
The collaborations here add an expanded set of colours to the duo’s already fairly wide palate: Hannah Joy of Middle Kids lends her voice to the already tight blend of harmonies in the title track, while Tennis’ Alaina Moore floats overtop ‘The Hardest Part’ with a lilting and breezy vocal that doesn’t ever feel the need to overwhelm. The duet with Lawrence Rotham’s is the only track where the pairing feels deliberate and purposeful, but oddly that’s why it seems to work the least out of all the collaborations. Rotham’s baritone is a rich and unique vocal that’s new to the music of Overcoats, but occasionally it feels jarring and out of place. Moore and Joy work hard to fit the songs they feature on, but Rotham can’t help but stand out, for better or for worse.
Luckily, there’s very little for worse on Used To Be Scared Of The Dark. At its slowest, most meandering points, the EP still feels like it’s walking confidently towards its conclusion. There were times in the duo’s past work where they struggled to find their own singular sound. With their latest release, all doubts have been expunged: this is a confident, fully formed Overcoats, ready to take on the future.