Ovlov - Tru - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ovlov - Tru

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2018-07-20
Ovlov - Tru
Ovlov - Tru

These days it’s uncommon to go five years without a new album from a rising artist. Look at Ty Segall – he can barely go six months before he’s churning out another album or collaboration. So when a band takes their time, and slowly produces a follow-up to a relatively unknown debut album, there are two modes of thought here. One, it probably sucks because they took too long to work on it. Or two, it’s excellent, they took their time and delivered the best possible product they could create.

Connecticut’s Ovlov fall into the latter on their sophomore album Tru. Coming half a decade after their debut album Am, Tru finds them completely nestled into their influences, wearing them loudly and proudly on their sleeves. We live in the age of throwback and nostalgia. But a formula that worked once, will likely work again so long as the basics are kept intact. And that’s what Ovlov do so consistently on Tru. They may sound like a hybrid of Dinosaur Jr. and Built to Spill, but that’s because they are, and they do it really well.

“Baby Alligator” opens the brisk 30-minute album, pulsating and pounding, and sounding like the 90s all over again. It sounds so comfortable in its skin, effortlessly sliding into the territory of Perfect From Now On homage, while at the same time being completely of its own self. Ovlov channel their inner J. Mascis on “Half Way Fine,” then transition to an almost Archer’s of Loaf-style surf rock on “The Best of You.” Tru is 100% a summer record – from its top down grooves, to its head bobbing hooks like the one found on “Spright,” an early highlight on an album full of them.

Ovlov are coming from a long line of revivalists who appreciate the roots of their music, instead of just blatantly stealing riffs here and there like mainstream acts tend to do. Exploding In Sound Records has a specific collection of talent, and each one pays homage and appreciates their forefathers in rock – from the punky tendencies of the soon-to-be-defunct Two Inch Astronaut to the early recordings of Stephen Malkmus-influenced Speedy Ortiz – they have a niche, and it’s a collection of excellence. Ovlov fit in well with this bunch, keeping their licks front and center, they drive Tru all the way to the end with only brief intermissions of non-fuzz.

“Tru-Punk” and “Fast G” incorporate more of that familiar sound, this time conjuring Alien Lanes-era Robert Pollard, with the subtle fuzz and feedback – meanwhile “Short Morgan” becomes the best song on the album with its irresistible chorus and wickedly good solo. The album closes with its longest track “Grab It From the Garden,” a six-minute long affair that finds the band working in unison to complete the album in a memorable way, and while it’s nothing new from them, it’s a great send off. Part of what made bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Guided By Voices a hit back in those days was the band's willingness to let the music carry them to the finish line, and Ovlov do that here at every turn.

Tru gets massive points for taking their influences and actually doing something good with it while avoiding the derivative. Sure, the untrained ear might say this is a rip-off of those 90s bands, but there’s no denying that Tru has everything that makes a classic summer rock album. It’s partner to the hundred degrees heat index and offers a comfortable place for you to just enjoy the tunes without worrying about any form of investment. Ovlov are a fuzzed out indie rock band, and they don’t shy away from that at all thankfully, and Tru finds them pushing their limits more successfully. Tru doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it makes those wheels run so much smoother than a lot of imitators.  

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