Mike Gordon: Overstep
It’s somewhat ironic that Phish bassist Mike Gordon and longtime collaborator and Max Creek frontman Scott Murawski conceived Overstep in a series of remote New England locations since those settings are usually the place of dark, emotional and introspective singer-songwriter affairs and not well-formed, upbeat and pervasive rock songs. Yet, despite admitted difficulties with writer’s block, Gordon’s initial vision yields an album thick with groove-laden songs accentuated with jazz riffs, power-pop vocal reflections, Matt Chamberlain’s spot-on drumming and Gordon’s tell-tale deep-to-explosive basslines flirting with everything from funk to jazz, acid and alt-rock. “Every chef knows it’s the sauce that makes the dish,” Gordon sings on “Tiny Little World,” and this master musical chef knows his sauce. “Ether” is a swirling, psychedelic pop ditty, while “Jumping” spins a classic West Coast jam-vibe circa 1974. “Yarmouth Road” taps Gordon’s love of roots reggae, as “Say Something” and “Face” are shapely power-rockers. “Different World” adds a piece of trippy Beatlesque/ progish heaven. Gordon’s ingredient list, thankfully, shows few limitations, making Overstep an intoxicating meal.