Who said there can’t be powerful melodies in the harshest distortion. For Ovlov’s latest release, the fuzz enthusiasts craft something very pure out of some of the most overwhelming overdrive in recent years. While it can be a bit off-putting at times, their powerful writing and ability to experiment with dynamics makes the album the most interesting.
With dense chords and equally huge harmonies, “Baby Alligator” really brings a crushing weight to the record as Ovlov show their mettle and how much emotion they can get out of their nearly toneless guitars. Though the writing is simple, their ability to hone in on the core of their sound in their feedback makes their writing really stand out. Like a surf-punk song left in the sun, “Half Way Fine” is utterly warm and simultaneously oppressive in its weighty mix. Ovlov however use their sharp dynamics and surprisingly traditionally fuelled writing to make music that’s accessible but sounds completely new.
Stripping away much of their effects on “The Best Of You” the shredding becomes faster and the drums really start to shine for once on the record. Though it uses this to build to frantic ends and a mesmerizing synth hook, the rather instrumental focus leaves the payoff from being completely satisfying in the end. Even in its melancholy, “Spright” has such an immediacy to its pain and yearning for something better that it grips you from the outset. Though its choruses are the only tangible pop in its writing, there’s a surprising amount of ear-worm moments in the washed out breaks they bring with their guitars.
Adding a little shoegaze reverb and chorus on “Stick,” Ovlov pick up the pace to go all out and tell a story with more dynamics than much of the record. Just as you believe like their sound can’t get any more crushing, the choruses here hit so hard you’ll be jumping when they kick in. “Tru Punk” is ironically one of the more soft and ranged tracks on the record, as they use their open sound to really switch their emotions on and off. While it might be a little off the record’s core sound, it’s by far one of the album’s best overall.
“Fast G” is so fuzz’d out from the start that it’s a little hard to take, but as the song goes on Ovlov manage to carve out room for their writing to shine through the haze. Though it turns into their most niche song of the record, there’s so many satisfying moments here that it’s hard to fault them for going all the way. They take this pop-punk fury somewhere more open on “Short Morgan” for a shrieking and goofy listen. Unrelenting in its pace and sound, the track is utterly catchy and endearingly demo-like. They even tap into some light old-school Queens Of The Stone Age-style melodies on “Grab It From The Garden” while bringing an unbridled rock energy that only goes off the rails the further you get into the track.
Words by Owen Maxwell