Attention reader! This cheerful reminder of the bombastic sounds of yesteryear is brought to you by Ovlov, one of many bands on the Brooklyn-based Exploding In Sound imprint hellbent on rechristening the big guitar sound that helped define ’90s indie rock.
Am, the debut album from the Connecticut alt-punk upstarts, opens with a wail of cranky feedback. Its a small, relatively innocuous touch, but one that serves as an apt precursor to the shearing, voluminous sounds that follow. Over the course of 10 hefty cuts of blitzing guitar rancor, Ovlov pulls through with a loud-yet-catchy noise pop record that could only be the product of a group of dudes who grew up bowing at the altar of ’90s guitar rock misfits like Dinosaur Jr. or Hum.
Straight up, this is a record that rings loud with that flaky word these days: nostalgia. Album opener Grapes opens up with the aforementioned feedback before running its angry guitar pop through the incinerator with My Bloody Valentine-like disregard for decibel levels. The sonic chaos is contrasted by the sweet harmonizing between singer Steve Hartlett and Speedy Ortizs Sadie DuPuis.
“Nu Punk” crunches like a cross between the Hot Snakes’ primal garage riffage and the hefty guitar pop of Blue Album Weezer, while a tune colored in gentle shades of indie guitar pop like “Moth Rock” still gets crushed under the weight of Ovlov’s sonic attack. Even when the band curbs the tempo some on “Where’s My Dini?”, they still don’t have the heart to dial back the noise, making for a listen so slow and dense it’s like walking through a tar pit in lead boots.
Like a crazed fighter trying to get his punches in long after the bell, Am is unrelenting in its soaring guitar rock sound. And yet many of the songs are palatable enough to get their hooks in you, making for a record packed with quality songs that buzz in your head long after the shoegazey din in your ears subsides.
Essential Tracks: ”Grapes”, “Nu Punk”, and “Moth Rock”