Posted on February 9th, 2015 (11:00 am) by Michael Negron

There’s a certain point in which something has such a delicate and precocious nature it overtakes any other descriptor. In this (arguably) sweet spot, works from vastly different planes of the musical sphere share a common likeness. Infinite Overcast, described as somewhere between glo-fi, Britpop, and shoegaze, takes that notion to excess as Stumbleine sets out to condense the sound of a child’s laughter, a hallmark card, and the tears of a puppy into a jangly love affair with reverb – written in synths, dictated not read.

Upon first listen, the album is another ever-so-soft, ever-so-graceful, electronic wash of synths, pianos and barely-audible vocals. There’s really no way to get around the fact that it’s a paradigm of the times – these kind of records have such a stranglehold it’s almost like they’re being mass-produced by some very smooth, very relaxed A.I. – but let’s take it for what it is and dissect it further.

Just as its tone threads otherwise distinct approaches, Stumbleine attempts to cobble together an album of varied design; the result is less colloidal than one would wish, taking chunks of influences and slapping on a common veneer in the hope of creating some level of cohesion. “Thawn,” introverted and texturally-focused with vocal effects and panning galore, is an odd jump from the sunshine-soaked “Adora Skyline” (except, again, for the vocal panning) only to then be pushed into the groovy “Skeksis.” By the time we get back to the more conventionally-crafted “Exit Sandman,” one could almost believe this is a Kevin Shields side project.

While the songs of Infinite Overcast contain many excellent elements (the bassline in “Skeksis,” the chorus of “Abacus,” the piano at the end of “Brunette”), they rarely manage to create a powerful statement individually. “Thawn” is the exception; the simplicity of its last few seconds, as the phrase “try again” is faintly heard in the background, succeeds in what everything else attempts: capturing the emotion of a moment without contradicting the resonance of the album. For the rest of the album, however, the lack of such moments is apparent. Concurrently, though there are few outright faults in the production, neither is there anything particularly daring.

Infinite Overcast is everything you expect, and it knows what it is. It shoves an alternating careless joy and hapless nostalgia into a musical voyage that treads the line between expressive and forced. Interestingly so, considering that the majority of the album takes subtlety to a near fault. With its lack of cohesion, structure, and notable moments comes reliance on, for better or worse, its most noticeable feature, its atmosphere, creating a hefty burden that, frankly, it can’t hold. Whether or not that atmosphere is enjoyable will be a matter of contention, but even so, one can’t help but think it’s not enjoyable enough. More than anything, it comes down to needing a little less proficiency, and a little more grit.

Track List:

  1. Adora Skyline
  2. Thawn
  3. Skeksis
  4. Abacus
  5. Exit Sandman
  6. The Great Flood
  7. Camber ft Steffaloo
  8. Brunette
Stumbleine - Infinite Overcast Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

50 / 100
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