Record of things I never had in my youth: a car, a guitar, a trip to see June of 44 in Louisville and a conversation with a Riot Grrrl in a Seattle coffee shop at 2 AM.
Thankfully, genres and trends DO come back every 20 years and the loud 90s sound (the one that’s not Grunge nor Math Rock nor Punk but a bit of all) that I thought I’d never hear again is back. Several bands have been doing it lately (Speedy Ortiz, Fawn Spots, Pjaro, Two Inch Astronaut) and now I offer you Ovlov‘s new album, Am, as another piece of evidence that The Second Wave of _____ (insert genre) can go beyond being a nostalgia cash in for those chavorucos like me.
Crank up the fuzz receptors in your brain. They will gorge with this.
Ovlov like it fast, loud and extremely saturated. Think of it as the greasiest sub sandwich you’ve had in your life ( a torta cubana for me) and extrapolate the amount of fat to a degree of fuzzed-out noisy atmospheres and you’ll get an approximation of what this is. With a quick squeal, it kicks out with ‘Grapes’, the topsy-turvy album opener that floors it, only to pile-drive you and till the soil with your hear with ‘The Well’.
So far, so good and rough.
‘Nü Pünk’ it’s a haymaker, proper. The clean riff disappears pretty fast and the relentless energy that Ovlov emanates throughout this one is a proper jolt. ‘Where’s my din’ made me think of Hum and Failure, two bands I miss dearly. Thick as molasses distortions, a sauntering pace and a lot of bends and squeals to create a sort of Space Rock atmosphere. In this Space Rock atmosphere we find ‘Milk’, the expansive track with long instrumental interludes that create this beautiful, magical atmosphere that fulfills any expectations of sonically-fueled travel. The vocals might be lost like the Cosmonauts the USSR denies losing during the Space Race, but it adds to the outer worldliness of the music. If you need to re-create the feeling of burning up on re-entry, pay attention to the extremely deft moves Ovlov do during ‘Moth rock’. Play it loud. Play it twice. Do the same for Am.
For as much distortion that Ovlov pile on their stuff (and that is a shitload of distortion), there is a strong feeling of deep nostalgia and depression seeping through, like the cathartic moment when you can’t take it anymore and punch a wall. Sure, your knuckles will be bleeding and you’ll curse yourself for letting life’s vicissitudes get the best out of ya, but, fuck it, that punch felt so good. And so does this album. So, thanks, Ovlov, I was tired of punching walls.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López