Tough times can overcome you, and they can be overcome. Every story is different, but the chances of finding a way through are much stronger with the love and support of family and friends. And that was the backdrop for the reforming of the Miserable Rich, who are back with their first record since 2011. Overcome was born out of personal tragedy – the band first reformed to play at Kit Fest, a charity festival put together by frontman James de Malplaquet following the death of his baby boy Kit – and collective need as the band grew closer and stronger as they helped one another through lockdown, when much of this record was written.
The death of Kit is the subject of the affecting single ‘Glue’, and themes of loss and heartache run through the record. But Overcome is not intended as a depressing album, and it is not. The lyrical themes provide the weighty anchor to whimsical tunes which could otherwise float away on the breeze, the deliberate counterpoint key to the healing process that this record reflects. There are the punchy rhythms and handclaps of opener ‘Ballad of Young Flynn’, the irreverence of ‘Penny For’, or the surprising New Orleans twist on the folk-pop of ‘FHS’. The cathartic experience gives Overcome a vital quality.
Musically, the band have not simply returned to their former selves, but expanded their sound with electronics, brass, even some Pink Floyd-esque backing vocals. The long list of guest appearances – Mike Liddell, Jennifer Left, Ben Fidler, Alabaster de Plume, Kelly Barnes, Jack Kendon and Dan Cartwright – speak to the power of the friendships that have helped the Miserable Rich navigate these most testing times in their lives. Nothing can undo the traumas the Miserable Rich have endured since we last heard from them, but Overcome is testament to their ability to heal.