i’ve said it before and again and again and i dunno if the time will ever stop being right: I AM SICK TO DEATH OF “GARAGE ROCK.” legions upon legions of faceless kids who listened to ariel pink and jay reatard and thought HEY IT MUST REALLY BE THAT EASY (so sadly like so many generations of punk hangers-on before them), wrote ten or fifteen two-minute tuneless raveups, turned up the distortion and buried it all in reverb and expected the hype machine to name-your-own-price them into the indie rock stratosphere. if there is any melodic substance or lyrical insight to be found then i don’t even know how high you’d have to be to be able to sift through all the noise and find it; and at any rate, as each identical burst of noise bleeds into the next, the thought that the band expects you to do the work of distinguishing their obscure merits on their behalf starts to feel like an insult.
this is why i jumped for joy when i found out newtown, CT’s ovlov had a new record. see, i may be a snob about so-called garage rock, but it’s not because i don’t love feedback like a panting embrace, or even that i mind when all of a band’s songs sound similar. i mean shit, these guys sound like they only learned two songs before they decided to start a band (not an unlikely scenario i don’t think since the album credits seem to indicate they’re all bro-thers), but their relationship with noise is much deeper and more nuanced, as the gentleness of their intensity bears out. there’s a tower of noise like a rolling sandstorm suffusing this whole record, shadow-dark and yet crystalline in the way that only contemporary recording technology is able to produce (not to say this shit is hi-fi either), but ovlov have found a place in the midst of all that for melodies and hooks like you haven’t heard on the radio since the pixies. plus, more’n half the songs have backing vox by sadie dupuis of speedy ortiz, one of my favorite bands of this or any decade, making the whole thing even harder to resist.
so listen kids: i understand that when you hear that jesus and mary chain record for the first time, it’s the squalling feedback that sends tingles up your spine; that the tape hiss is what gives guided by voices its comforting warmth; that a tsunami of reverb may have been the only thing separating galaxie 500 from the thousands of their cloyingly repetitive twee contemporaries. but take it from the kids in ovlov – good pop does have texture and rewards its listeners for exploring its depths, but great pop (like am) has melody and hooks to match.