Good Lies Overmono review

Good Lies review | Overmono convey electronic music’s edge in a popular, palatable style

Overmono have experienced a meteoric rise over the last few years. Having gone from making niche solo work to a string of popular EPs, they’ve now become one of Britain’s biggest dance acts. Off the back of a successful recent Coachella performance, the Welsh brothers are set release their most ambitious project to date: the 12-track album Good Lies, complete with Doberman-themed artwork by frequent visual collaborator, Rollo Jackson.


Tom and Ed Russell, formerly known as Truss and Tessela, grew up in Monmouth, in rural South Wales. With a ten-year age gap between them, Tom would organise local parties in his hometown pub before growing his network and moving on to parties in the woods. He shared his growing music collection with his younger brother Ed and helped him buy his first set of turntables aged ten.

A few years later, they would have a memorable conversation where Ed sat his older brother down and grilled him on the different aspects of production shortly before leaving the band he was in. Unbeknownst to them, the seed for Overmono had been sowed.

They initially took separate paths as producers. Many dance music fans would’ve first encountered either through Tessela’s bone-rattling rave anthem ‘Hackney Parrot’, released on the record label he and his brother run together, PolyKicks. The unrelenting track helped usher in the renaissance of raucous breakbeats, while Truss released dark, abrasive techno on the label Perc Trax around the early 2010s.

Good Lies

The duo debuted as Overmono in 2016 with ‘Arla I’, before a slew of EPs with XL Recordings followed, showcasing their penchant for melding pertinent samples with techno elements, trance, hardcore, drum n’ bass and two-step garage.

As well as an array of 90s sounds, they take inspiration from post-dubstep and pioneering UK dance labels of the 2010s, such as Hessle Audio, Night Slugs and Livity Sound. In the six years since their first collaboration, they’ve embraced a more accessible sonic direction, tuning the music to please the increasingly bigger crowds who come to see them play.

The duo’s 2021 Fabric mix clearly lays out their artistic influences, from the other-worldly atmosphere of Actress’s ‘Caves of Paradise’ to the blissful breakbeat science of Orca’s ‘Intellect’. The compilation closes with the collaged synth psychedelia of Manchester’s Sockethead and 1995 epilepsy’s auto-tune ballad ‘get 2 kno’, giving the listener a glimpse into the scope of their taste.

Good Lies kicks off with ‘Feelings Plain’, an emotive contortion of Miraa May’s 2021 track ‘In My Feelings’. The duo have previously stated they only use modern samples, aiming to move away from the endless pastiche that often grips the hardcore continuum. ‘Arla Fearn’ is a nod to the spaced-out ghost notes, swinging rhythms and wobbling basslines of the dubstep music they first took inspiration from.

The album’s title track follows, which in many ways helps to define the duo’s sound. It takes a 2015 single by Norway’s Smerz and remoulds it into a ‘pop-timistic’ dance tune filled with vocal patchwork and melodic electronic textures. ‘Walk Thru Water’ uses the distorted voice of St Panther and underlays it with a downtempo, glitchy beat that vaguely resembles the sound of another British electronic music duo’s celebrated album: Autechre’s Tri Repetae.

Ghostly, Burial-like vocals are prominent on the melancholic RnB track ‘Cold Blooded’, which feels like a brief comedown in the midst of the elation sequenced after the melancholia of ‘Walk Thru Water’.

The shuddering bass of ‘Skulled’ lifts the energy again, reminiscent of the sentimental broken techno of Shed and Skee Mask, while the progressive acid line of Sugarushhh’ continues to propel the listener forward. ‘Calon’ uses a difficult-to-discern vocal with a house beat, followed by the sub-bass filled ‘Is U’, which expertly utilises a Tirzah sample from her 2018 hit, ‘Gladly’.

Following ‘Bromley’, a fruitful collaboration with UK bass connoisseur Joy Orbison, Overmono released the festival-defining ‘So U Kno’, which was named the best track of 2021 by Resident Advisor.

Good Lies

Photo: Elliot Morgan

After the ambient interlude of ‘Vermonly’, the breakout track’s recognisable skippy rhythm and pleasurable chopped-up vocals create one of the LP’s most kinetic tracks. The album finishes with ‘Calling Out’, where stirring chord progressions combine with re-assembled vocals from Slowthai and CASisDEAD.

The previously released Good Lies singles stand out for creating the most memorable moments of Good Lies. At times, the overuse of processed vocals spliced together to form a catchy hook feels like repetitive post-dubstep nostalgia. Whilst this isn’t a boundary-breaking album, Overmono should be commended for carving out their own distinctive sound and managing to appeal equally to those who don’t typically listen to electronic music.

By combining aspects of the UK’s musical history with elements of RnB, hip-hop and rap, they’ve joined the small group of dance acts who are able to draw a large crowd, condensing aspects of the harder edges of electronic music into a popular, palatable style that puts the genre’s unique ability to uplift at its centre.

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