Steve Hartlett seems to be dedicated to delivering memorable pop songs in the loudest way possible. The overall effect of Ovlov’s first two stellar EPs was that of an extremely heavy Blue-album-era Weezer brought into the 21st century. Ovlov continue this quest for Sublime Heavy Pop with equally great results on their debut LP, am, released earlier this summer on the rising NYC-based Exploding in Sound Records. The fuzz assault comes in immediately following the first seconds of feedback with opener “Grapes”, featuring vocals from Speedy Ortiz‘s Sadie Dupuis. In one moment one is both pummeled and soothed, an effect very warm and comforting to anyone who identifies with My Bloody Valentine or Hum. The vocals are buried, leaving the melodic onslaught to fill the space. “Where’s my Dini?” offers a semi-respite and Sadie makes another pitch-perfect appearance. Frontdude Steve Hartlett unleashes palpable frustration with “Really Bees” as his vocals reach newer and more vicious heights. He seems to unravel by the time “There’s my Dini!” crashes in. It’s as if the angst he has been slightly downplaying thus far finally boils to the surface, and it’s a cathartic and welcome shift.
There is a constant back-and-forth between welled-up pain, wistful sighs, dreamy fuzz-scapes, and aggressive outbursts throughout am. The album closes with two extended dreamy tracks, including the beautifully crushing ‘Blue Baby’. A pop record for those craving the catharsis of volume.