album review ~ 'cicatrix' ~ over the hill collective

Various Artists / Over The Hill Collective
For fans of: The Travelling Wilburys, Kate Bush, Tom Petty

Based in the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, the 'Over The Hill Collective' are a band of older musicians collaborating and writing original music purely for the love of it.

The brain child of Oh Yeah's outreach development officer and lead guitarist Paul Kane, the concept grew out of a desire to get older musicians involved in music in a safe, exciting and productive environment. Together they write and record original albums entirely from scratch, with each member contributing a track.

As wonderful a concept as that is, the reality of taking a group of musicians, who haven't been playing together for very long, and expecting them to gel on a record together, is always going to be a tall order. Thankfully 'Cicatrix' proves to be a boisterous, spirit raising throwdown with enough heart to keep you listening straight through to the end...

What makes 'Cicatrix' such a joy to listen to is it's utter spontaneity. Any preconceptions you may have about an album written by a group called 'The Over The Hill Collective' is thrown out the window completely by Bernard Jackson's foot to the floor opener 'Next Time'; An upbeat strummer that could sit as comfortably on an Elvis Costello record as it could on (wait for it) the latest Weezer album, as is Rivers Cuomo's love of The Beach Boys and classic pop melodies.

Other highlights include the hauntingly beautiful ragtime of Liz Kelly's 'Jump In', which warns of the choppy waters of a failed relationship. All the while Kelly's theatrical charm remains reminiscent of American pop songstress Regina Spektor, a fifties swinging beat gently tiding the track to it's conclusion.

Paul Kane's own contribution 'Wash My Hands' provides a folk-driven stomp to proceedings, complete with the most catchy chorus about someone coping with OCD as your likely to hear this year. Elsewhere Rab Wishart's country-tinged ode to missing home could be straight out of a Disney film, whilst Neil Lavery and Danielle Ireland's 'If I Could' brings a floating Pink Floyd-effect to an album brimming with influences from across the decades, and most genres.

'Ultimatly 'Cicatrix' is a record of such unbridled, eclectic, joy that it's near impossible not to take something away from it. It serves as an example too, that it's never to late to go after your dreams, as summed up perfectly by twenty one pilots frontman Tyler Joseph during his Grammys acceptance speech recently;

"Anyone, from anywhere, can do anything"

Taylor Johnson

For more information on Over The Hill & how you can get involved, click here.

Listen to 'Cicatrix' on Spotify here: //

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