The new full-length from Ovlov remains firmly entrenched in their favored ’90s lo-fi heaviness. This one doesn’t stray too far from the plan and all guitars are fittingly applied to the tape like flamethrowers — this is a beat-up, melted-sounding record. Songs like opener “Grapes” and “The Well” propel forward with beefy power chords and sludgy bass under singer/guitarist Steve Hartlett’s slacker melodies bumming around on top like daydreams.
Hartlett is in fine form throughout, especially unhinged rager “Really Bees,” where the screamingest and most immediate of all the sing-along moments here. “Nü Punk” ratchets up the speed and nods to the seldom hailed punk-metal final days of the Pixies (circa “The Sad Punk,” of course), but the chorus takes a couple weightless chord changes into a beautiful alt-rock neverland that, for just a moment, transforms the whole thing. A similar approach, with Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis on duet vocals, is taken on the “Where’s My Dini?” where a sad, aimless verse lifts up into brief ascendant hooks that all begin with “I fell asleep . . . ” Nearly everything about the record is blunt force — the blown-out and deadened drums, the relentless overdriven guitar chords. But it’s the melodic somersaults like those that help make “am” ripe for a summer of repeat listens (though dozens of perfectly placed wild squeals of punctuating feedback don’t hurt, either).
ESSENTIAL “Where’s My Dini?” / “Wells”