The band's infectious, megawatt-level energy hits its peak with the onstage dynamism of Jamie Searle, the quartet's boyish, wide-eyed guitarist and lead singer. Known for playing guitar so hard that he breaks more strings than drummers break sticks, he also has a whiplash style and a Pepsodent smile that make for a performance to behold.
Sometimes it even gets people dancing.
"This is definitely an arms-folded kind of town," says bassist and backing singer Bill "Roach" Sundahl (also the mastermind behind KC's popular Donkey Show variety events). "We love to look out and see people dancing and having fun at our shows."
"I blame the '90s for the arms-folding phenomenon," Searle adds.
"My Dear Wife," from the It's Over Demo EP:
It's Over's diverse song repertoire a collection that includes dance anthems, carnival-like polka and straight-up pop-rock is so all over the place that the band's sound can be hard to summarize. Think the early Nashville Sun Records sound plus '50s- and '60s-inspired rock and roll, underlaid with eclectic song structures and indefatigable enthusiasm.
It's Over began in May 2001, when Sundahl and Searle came across each other on a local music forum. Both were looking for what the other needed: Sundahl wanted a vocalist and guitarist, and Searle needed a bassist. "At first we were just messing around," Sundahl says. "It used to be a lot of screaming and yelling and knocking the crap out of each other onstage. It was totally stupid.
"But we started recording things and liked what we heard," he continues. "I think things really took a turn when Ryan joined the band in the summer of 2004."
Lead guitarist Ryan Donegan, a childhood friend of Searle's, came aboard when It's Over was not only getting a feel for its sound but also going through drummers at a rapid pace.
"When we went in to record our first EP at Soundworks, we had Rod Peal drumming for us," Searle says. "Rod played four out of the five songs on the EP, and then Andrew, who happened to be in the studio, sat in for 'Hallelujah. '"
Fortunately for Andrew Twenter, who joined the band, the happy-go-lucky "Hallelujah" has become one of It's Over's signature songs.
"You could say that 'Hallelujah,' with the whole I'm gonna throw out all of my cares today," Searle says, quoting the song's lyrics, "is what we're all about. Not giving a fuck and having fun and getting people dancing at our shows."
"I think it's overrated," Donegan says with a sigh. "We have a lot more songs coming up, songs that are like 'My Dear Wife.'"
He has a point. "My Dear Wife" reveals one of the band's most salient quirks. Though upbeat and danceable, this is one twisted little ditty. It's about a serial killer sending an unapologetic letter to his wife, wanting to find out how, you know, the kids are doing.
Lyrics such as I wish I could be the husband you'd love forever more ... if it weren't for all that BLOOD! make for a surreal concert experience when you look up at the band's beaming faces and aw-shucks smiles. If there were a musical production of A Clockwork Orange, "My Dear Wife" would fit nicely into the score.
When they're not getting people to dance to chipper songs about serial killers, It's Over passes out props and creative noisemakers to encourage audience participation. A favorite noisemaker is the kazoo, but the band has actually gone further than simple party favors and created themes to go with performances.
"Yeah, we had an entire carnival theme going at one show, with the whole 'Step right up, ladies and gentlemen!' bit," Sundahl says.
Oddly, this bit also involved packing material.
"Jamie thought up the idea of bringing lots and lots of bubble wrap to the carnival show," Sundahl says.
After handing out enough bubble wrap for everyone in the audience to get their hands on a sheet, the band counted to three and everyone in the room twisted the crap out of their wrap.
"It's a lot louder than you would imagine that many people twisting a bunch of bubble wrap at once," Sundahl says. "Call us goofy, but we like to bring the unexpected to shows and just go with it."
In March, upon the invitation of Whoopsie magazine, It's Over brings the unexpected to the South by Southwest music festival, then sets it to hot plastic with a debut full-length planned for a June release.
Ready the bubble wrap.