Ovlov – TRU
While it doesn't always succeed when it comes to standing out from its peers, TRU is an impressively fleshed out record and a promising step for Ovlov
TRU is an impressively fleshed out record which improves on Ovlov’s roots in spare, lo-fi pop-punk. The energy and melancholy are both still present and for the most part Ovlov strike the crucial balance of being wimpy without being whiny. It’s enough to make a listener grateful that their previous break-ups didn’t stick.
Ovlov’s newfound musical expansiveness is evident on album opener Baby Alligator, wherein layered vocals add up to a fuller sound, and in single Spright where they strike an effective contrast between heavy guitars and soft, clean vocals. The sturdiness of the band helps prop up frontman Steve Hartlett’s wispy singing, which is at times reminiscent of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie / The Postal Service) at his most navel-gazing.
What makes TRU compelling is the sense of restlessness and longing that comes through in songs like The Best of You, when Hartlett laments seeing 'you crumble at the sight of your favourite person’s shadow.' The entire album clocks in at just over half an hour, just long enough to make an impression, even though closing track Grab it From the Garden could have had a couple of minutes chopped off.
Overall, TRU is a promising step for Ovlov, albeit one that doesn’t always succeed when it comes to standing out from its peers. Let’s hope that their third reunion sounds even fresher and more revitalised than this one.
Listen to: Baby Alligator, The Best Of You