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Reviews

Lovvers
OCD Go Go Go Girls Stephen Eddie , August 13th, 2009 07:49

Sometimes it seemed like Lovvers would never record anything as long as an actual album. Since they got in the van in May 2006 they've caused bleach blonde chaos in any room that'd have them, put out four 7"s (three on Johnson Family and a split with The Death Set) and last autumn's exhilarating 13-minute EP _THINK. But they've got here and it's been worth the trip, as OCD Go Go Go Girls lays down punch after of punch melodic, unkempt punk rock.

On the way they rip up rather than rip off Los Angeles’ Smell Scene, '60s pop, Ramones, Pixies, garage rock from MC5 to its revival earlier this decade (The Hives, in particular) and various eras of Sub Pop. 'D. Boon', named after the Minutemen frontman, is the most obvious direct tribute, so it's shame that the plodding, simple strum feels like an interval before final song 'Wild Smiles'.

Lovvers are like a musical history lesson gone awry. Everything about 'Alone With A Girl' could be from a Ramones song: the catchy, repetitive riff; the title; the brevity; the "na na na's", even if the production is as far away as possible from the sound the New Yorkers achieved with Phil Spector. They're hilarious bloggers, spellcheck nightmares and interview liars - according to one 'In The Studio' piece, drummer Stephen is now cockless, while bassist Michael joined the band after the others found him in a tree on the way to practice (that could be true).

While singer Shaun Hencher's former The Murder Of Rosa Luxemburg (a clever mathcore lot highly revered now they're gone) bandmate Andrew Jackson went on to front the lush, folky House Of Brothers, Lovvers’ lof-fi, scuzzed and scuffed production has gone completely the other way. TMORL’s high concepts - solos and awkward time signatures - have been abandoned, along with their lyrical concerns of death, God, and time, at least, as far as a listener can tell. Hencher's vocals are as fuzzy, primitive and lo-fi as any other instrument here - on 'Golden Bars Blue' the distortion is turned up so much that he sounds like an elephant's trumpet. They're part of the texture rather than a vehicle for profound lyrics, bar the occassional "ooh" and "woah". And sometimes that's all that's needed to enjoy yourself.

Absolutely nothing here escapes the fuzz and distortion of distinctly Transatlantic hue. OCD Go Go Go Girls was record in analogue in Portland, Oregon, and while it has charm it also puts a muffler on the aggression of Lovvers’ previous recordings and performances.

For this is nowhere near as intense or intimidating as their confrontational live reputation might suggest - one show prompted a confused and offended Kerrang! reader to write a letter saying she wanted to have her memory wiped of the whole thing - some songs, such as 'Ad Lib', wouldn't sound out of place on a demo by indie skifflers The Libertines. Most, though, are far more enjoyable, like the almost-title track 'OCD Go Go Girls' and the nagging punk-pop of 'Creepy Crawl'. Classic and surf rock riffs are reimagined and made mucky on 'Human Hair', showing Henry Withers as some sort of anti-guitar hero.

Closer 'Wild Smiles' provides the most intriguing hint to where Lovvers might take their sound next. Longer (at four minutes, it's quarter the length of THINK), heavier and clearer than the preceding twenty, it builds and builds to a shimmering guitar freak out with Hencher chanting unfathomable, tribal things. A hidden track is a less enticing mutant croon on piano. Distorted, of course

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