A beloved human in my area was, last year, a victim of the overdose crisis that has been walloping BC for years--a tally on a very long list, but the first tally to deeply and irreversibly impact those in my immediate community. I did not know him personally. I know him through stories from loved ones. Folks whose grief I don't come close to understanding. The overdose crisis always felt like a distant thunder on the periphery, even though it happens all around us. It can be hard to be attentive to crises until you witness it up close. Then you're devastated.
'Overcoat' is written primarily from the perspective of a man who hears that "thunder" in the distance--a tailor, commissioned to make a coat for a patron who isn't alive to receive the completed product. There's an old expression for a premature, and uncelebrated death--"ending up in a wooden overcoat". A poorly constructed coffin, and certainly not an overcoat you'd ever request to be made--"nobody asks for pine". Our tailor doesn't know how to process the grief, and washes his hands of it so that he can continue making sense of his life. This is probably the default human response when things occur that are so out of your personal "ordinary".
There are loads of double meanings in this song. I hope you find them. I tend to process grief and emotion through these abstracted, detail-driven stories. More obvious than any secret allusion is an earnest request at the song's end for transparency: "if it wears you down like salt in the snow, please let me know". We're all just learning more about everything. They're hard lessons for some, and life-altering for others. Keep yourself honest, and expect honesty from those around you--be safe, empathetic, and considerate.