It was a cringing embarrassment when Matchbox 20 released their last record North in 2012, proving that most pop rock bands from the 1990s shouldn’t be making music anymore. A similar tragedy occurs with Overboard, The Verve Pipe’s first rock album in 13 years.
That this band had stopped caring for a while now is no secret, having spent the last decade making children’s music. But what they have done in attempting to make a comeback is disheartening. Lost somewhere between country pop and a horribly overproduced rock record, Overboard is a mess for the most part, with a few promising bits that get trampled under the weight of everything else going horribly wrong.
Opening with “Carry On,” the first half of the album is a poorly composed pastiche of sappy acoustic singer-songwriter music with shades of post-grunge filling in the form of a bridge or a chorus. The album’s title-track, a somber tale of a young girl drowning in Lake Michigan, is the only one that somewhat redeems itself and manages to make this formula work.
The latter half of the record shows more substance and edge, with more traditional rock proposed to (unsuccessfully) fight off the stench of this contrived disaster. “Hit And Run,” an eerie tale that appears to resemble the band’s earlier work, and “Here In The Dark,” the only track with simple rock instrumentation, peek their heads out in an attempt at redemption, but barely carry enough weight to resist the impact of the album’s messy and overbearing dynamic.
In A Word: Tragic