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Noisy Neighbors

Ovlov, ‘am’

OVLOV

am

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.

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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”

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