Ov Pain: Ov Pain (cocomuse.co.nz)

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Cold as Ice
Ov Pain: Ov Pain (cocomuse.co.nz)

In the musical microcosm that is Dunedin/Port Chalmers these days, we might allow ourselves to consider the duo at the core of this multi-referencing Goth-cum-drone-cum-claustrophobically dark-rock-psyche release as something of a pocket-edition supergroup.

Partners Renee Barrance and Tim Player are of Elan Vital and the very interesting Opposite Sex respectively.

But, with all due respect, (and we've paid attention to them both at Elsewhere), neither would be on many people's radar.

So . . . .

The Ov Pain promo sheet announces them as “currently a Dunedin favourite” [let's give them the benefit of the doubt] and their eight-song self-titled debut of late last year as “a gem that lays waste to the imbecilic notion that new possibilities within rock and roll are destined to be staid bloated rock rituals engineered in the pursuit of a cheap buck or a quick fuck”.

Well, that's been a weasel-weak indie/outsider position to adopt for at least four decades – Oh, look at us, we aren't corporate – and today such posturing is called trying to get in with the retaliation first (anticipating the critics/reviewers).

But frankly, it is more bullshit in a world already full of it.

And the aural evidence of Ov Pain here is not persuasive.

Claiming your victim/outsider status is pretty damn pathetic unless you put up.

This outing – in an unintentionally ironic reference in the same press release -- announces them as “richly haunting for being familiar yet obliquely and properly weird” does not, as they again announce “[offer] seemingly contradictory charms [which] play out [and] is part of the tension inherent to this duo's character”.

So yes, we get the shoegaze drone/post-rock/art school favourite this is . . . but frankly, while this is not without interest, these are paths much travelled. 

From Joy Division, Iggy, back through the baritone Jim Morrison/Doors (and all that important organ), the girl groups allusions (Walking in the Sand is an interesting reference), the much more fun Romeo Void, archly whining punk vocalists . . .

The furious pop elements (Cold as Ice) and psyche-drone (Lovers Leap) get some of this over a few hurdles -- the gothic synth-organ ties much of this together -- but over the half hour there's a lot of doom and gloom and declamatory nonsense . . . and hits its nadir on the cliched and godawful BCI.

Available on vinyl through Zelle Records in Europe and the www.cocomuse website in New Zealand

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