Jan 21, 2022

Ovlov has always had a cult following and I recently joined up. After getting their second album, Tru, soon after it came out in 2018, I listened to it a bunch and then only gave it an occasional spin. In mid-2021 I decided to dig more into the band’s back catalog, including a couple EPs and their debut, Am. This was primarily because I love Dinosaur Jr. and I sensed some influences from that trio on Ovlov. While both bands like fuzzy guitars, Ovlov seems to play around with some shoegazer vibes now and then. While Buds, their latest album, has a bit of that, it’s also the band’s poppiest yet. There are still some fuzzy guitars but also more clean playing than on any previous album. The two sounds go back and forth both within and between songs. It creates a peaceful and aggressive dynamic nestled in pop sensibilities. Guest backing vocals from Jordyn Blakely and Alex Gehring add a softer, richer sound to Steve Hartlett’s lead. And Hartlett’s dad comes in with a saxophone solo on “Cheer Up, Chihiro!” that doesn’t sound forced and makes Ovlov’s sound even more dynamic. My only complaint is that with eight songs clocking in at twenty-five minutes, Ovlov’s latest is way too short. More, please. –Kurt Morris (explodinginsoundrecords.com)