Album Review: “Young” by Overcoats

Young, the debut album of New York-based band Overcoats, is being released April 21st, just before National Record Store Day. Overcoats is comprised of Hana Elion and J.J. Mitchell, who both write and sing for the band. Their brand of music is difficult to put into a genre, shifting from folk to pop to electronic, all tied together with delicate and swaying lyrics between the two singers. This creates beautiful songs of sadness and longing, whether its for an estranged loved one, or the sorrow of a deteriorating relationship. Overcoats expresses these sentiments through a unique style that makes you want rock back and forth to the beat.The sounds of Overcoats are slow and soft electronic beats, a droning chord progression, and the heartfelt lyrics sung with twisting harmonies that join and separate at just the right moments. The highlight of the album is “Hold Me Close,” which perfectly fuses catchy dance music and sorrowful lyrics. It is also the best example of layering on the album, using Mitchell and Elion’s voices both as instruments and vocal melodies. This creates a chorus that builds throughout the song, collecting samples and constantly shifting.

Other great tracks include “Siren,” “Kai’s Song,” and “23.” These incorporate basic rhythms and stunning choruses to leave you broken, all driven by the heartfelt lyrics. Overcoats’ songs are about relationships, not just romantic but also familial. They’re painful but loving, complicated but confusing. They are songs of uncertainty, where the narrator is trapped between love and doubt. “Forever’s a long time when it doesn’t feel right, and being his wife’s like one long sleepless night,” they sing in “23,” a song that’s sadly rhythmic, that begs the listener to sway and sing along, despite its tone.

“Their name comes from the strength they find in making music together. Like an overcoat, Hana and JJ’s music is as much about the armor they create for themselves through their art as it is about the vulnerability beneath,” it says on their website, a sentiment so perfect I just had to include it. Their songs feel like comfort, secrets shared between friends, stories told during coffee and long phone calls, an umbrella on a rainy day. Young is the perfect soundtrack of friendship. You can hear it in their voices, and can’t help but dance along.

Young is available for purchase 4/21 and is available for streaming now on NPR’s First Listen.

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