I used to struggle with the idea of fuzzy indie rock being used into something that could be considered as dreamy or relaxing. All I could think of when guitars howl and moan with gritty textures is the grinding sandpaper against wood, the rumble of the speakers, the sweat of the mosh pit. There have been multiple bands that opened me up to this idea, especially due to the amount of noise rock and shoegaze bands being featured in Buzzyband, but there has always been some resistance in the back of my mind. I had always associated rock to be aggressive, and if you’re looking for a gentler and dreamier experience – just move on to other genres like RnB and pop. But Ovlov and their latest record Buds was the first to make me nod my head and be a full believer that it’s possible.
After a little bit of backtracking and comparing Buds to their older albums – there’s a significant amount of restraint poured into this record, while still making use of the best of what distortion can offer. Some have called it their poppiest record yet, and it is true if we’re speaking in relative terms. Nevertheless, what they’ve managed to do in this album is to put two extremes – fuzzy and clean – and arrange them neatly to coincide in the same song. It’s not an easy feat but lo and behold – they’ve made it work tremendously well. Enabling the listener to experience the dreamy highs and the gritty lows of the humble fuzz pedal. Some say that this is a departure from Ovlov, but I’d call it a refinement of the sound. A maturity that takes precise care and expertise with the medium, and even though it runs relatively short at twenty-five minutes it has given a lot of satisfaction and a fresh perspective on what fuzz-drenched indie rock could sound like.
Although I enjoyed each and every song, my highlights would include “Land of Steve-O”. Channeling 90’s rock in two poles, balancing the aqueous vibes of 311 against the tidal barrage of Hum. “Strokes” is an interesting take, as it feels like an alternate dimension of The Strokes if they were DIY and born from 90s grunge. “Cheer Up, Chihiro!” is where I thoroughly enjoyed the shifts between the extreme dips and rises in intensity – it’s as if rock in general just sounded wider than where I thought it could go.
Ovlov is a band riddled with a rocky past, hopefully with the brilliance of this record the band can garner enough support and gain stability to continue forging and developing this sound, as the band has definitely hit a promising stride with Buds.