Starting out a decade ago under the separate DJ monikers of Tessela and Truss, Welsh brothers Tom and Ed Russell made techno and dubstep respectively, becoming two respected figures of the UK dance underground. It was only when the pair formed Overmono in the mid-2010s, though, that a certain alchemy was uncovered, mixing their underground beginnings with pop sounds aiming towards more widespread audiences.
Since then, their sound has been streamlined and beefed up over a series of EPs and mixes. In 2021, the track ‘So U Kno’ – a deliciously catchy hammerblow of chopped vocals and metallic beats – could be heard blaring out of festival tents and at raves up and down the country, becoming one of the most omnipresent tracks of the post-lockdown summer.
On their debut album ‘Good Lies’, the pair retain all the hallmarks of the project so far, while unashamedly dialling up the ambition; the hooks here are sweeter, the beats harder. Single ‘Walk Thru Water’ is a sparkling song built around a trap-inspired beat and assisted by St Panther, while ‘Arla Fearn’ is a fantastically dark behemoth.
The simplest comparison for the duo – and with good reason – is Burial, whose icy textures and sharp snare hits are all over ‘Good Lies’. While William Bevan’s project is happy to stay in the shadows though, Overmono routinely break through them towards pop transcendence. Closing track ‘Calling Out’ samples Slowthai and and CASISDEAD over thudding two-step, while ‘Is U’ contrasts its razor-sharp percussion with a sugary vocal sample and melodic synths.
This boundary-pushing ethic has also been shown in a recent slate of remixes, where they’ve turned Irish songwriter For Those I Love’s heavy, grief-ridden masterpiece ‘I Have A Love’ into a joyous techno romp, and most recently brought Ed Sheeran’s ‘Eyes Closed’ into their glitchy orbit. They’re fast becoming the go-to duo for pairing dance and radio pop.
While most of ‘Good Lies’ balances sweetness in the melodic vocal samples with harsher percussion, title track is deliciously warm throughout. On it, they take a sample from the lo-fi ‘No Harm’ by XL-signed pop duo Smerz and expertly turn it into a brilliantly catchy hook. It’s not a stretch at all to imagine it bursting out of festival main stage speakers at night.
Overmono have described their debut album as “a letter of love to the journey so far [that also] marks where we want to take things,” and ‘Good Lies’ puts the pair on the edge of a major breakthrough. Its pop-leaning moments are also its most exciting, and the creativity and skill with which they bridge these worlds is thrilling.
- Release date: May 12
- Record label: XL Recordings