Garrett Miles and Ken Porter, better known as the synthpop duo Intuition, released their second album Overworked & Underplayed. This album showed quite a bit of musical growth since their first album, Further. On this album, Garrett and Ken took the chance of allowing the guitar to be a prominent instrument on a few of the songs. This can be a rather controversial thing to do on a “synthpop album”; over the years, some synthpop purists have decried the use of any guitar on synthpop recordings (never mind the fact that Depeche Mode have used guitars in their music since 1983). The guitar is most prominent on “Stronger,” “Whole,” “I Scream,” and “Words Don’t Mean a Thing.” For those who prefer the more “poppy synthpop” sound of Further, the song “Beside You” comes the closest to this sound.
One of the most interesting songs on this disc is “I Scream.” In the beginning of the song, the speaker is someone who feels overwhelmed and that there’s no one to save them. But near the end of the song, the speaker looks up at the heavens, and finds a calmness in God; instead of wishing that someone could save them, the speaker says, “I was saved all along.” Another interesting lyric twist comes in the song “Tomorrow.” At the beginning of the song, the speaker is asking someone not to to walk out the door, or drive away in their car, or to board a plane; the listener just assumes that the speaker isn’t wanting a significant other to leave their life. But, right near the end, you hear the following lyrics: “I wonder what the victims thought / The second that their airplane fell / I guess for now we’ll never know / Their story is buried six feet low.” Those lyrics suddenly give a “predictable” song a new twist and the listener a new perspective to what they had just heard.
The weakest point of the album to me was the song “When I Die.” Lyrically, this song is interesting – it’s from the perspective of someone who is dying and wondering how life will go on for the one they love. However, these lyrics are undermined by the music. While listening to the song, I thought the music kind of plodded along and really didn’t go anywhere.
The album also features the song “Heaven,” which was originally released on the Synthpop for a Darkened Room Volume 3 compilation album; however, it appears in a slightly different mix here. Also on the disc is “Staring Off At Nothing,” which was the lead-off single for the album.
Overall, Overworked & Underplayed is a good album, and one I would highly recommend to people who appreciate synthpop.
Take Me Away
Staring Off at Nothing
When I Die
Words Don’t Mean a Thing