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The Ovals - Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep CD (album) cover


The Ovals


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.05 | 5 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Psych prog with strong melodies and powerful instrumentals.

"Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep" is the latest EP release for Australian Space Rockers The Ovals. I was mesmirised by the spacey atmospheres of their previous release "Inner Space" so was really looking forward to more of the same on this. Once again the packaging is well produced, with nice artwork on the album style gatefold and the CD itself. The music however has changed and is varied rather than consistently appealing to my ears.

Noticeably, the album begins with a heavier sound on 'Refugees' and a very solid beat with the similar vocal style of the previous EP, a kind of early Pink Floyd vibe. The vocals of Neal and Kalkman are similar sounding as on "Inner Space", and the dreamy atmosphere moves from warm ambience to darker textures of psych rock.

'Lost With Bones' is very psychedelic music and a deeper vocal, very much like Nick Cave, unlike previous Ovals songs; "I take up golden arrow, in the knowledge of my death." The synths sound new wave at times and the chord strums are more aggressive on this track. The instrumental break is a psych acid rock sound especially with weird sparkling synth sounds and echoed phased guitar twangs. The guitars even remind me of The Jam and that pulsating bassline is as usual well executed. Kalkman's sustained key pads have that space rock effect on the music, juxtaposed with jangly guitars and powerful vocalisations. It grew on me with subsequent listens but this is a decidedly different approach and unlike other Ovals songs due to the storyteller baritone vocals and an almost western feel to the music.

'Heretic' begins with some excellent spacey effects, infectious chiming guitars and a pounding tribalistic percussive metrical pattern from Manning. The chord structures are simple but further complicated with the soundscape of layered keyboards, and echoed sustain. The vocals are multi tracked chanting; "burn the heretic, burn the heretic, burn the heretic." The atmosphere is dark and moody on this track with some downright chilling musical shapes punctuated by cold synths. The lead solo is excellent phased guitar augmented with wah wah pedal work and repeated shapes, which is as Hawkwind-esque as it gets.

'Persephone's Groove' begins as a very slow psychedelic song. The reflective vocals are dreamy over a patient synth and the bassline of Smith, with some hi hat work. It builds gradually and the vocalist sounds like he is channelling Syd Barret; "Shine on long after we're gone, rumours of respected light and curious clouds burning us". The song launches into a fast tempo detour and moves along as the vocals build to a stronger style. The shimmering effects are powerful, especially the synth lines, the lyrics are cool cosmic psychobabble; "here comes Saturn, he's smiling at the sun, rings around his head say that he's a cosmic child, skipping past the cobblestones and into the wild." The lead break from Neal that follows is very fuzzy guitar work and it settles into a feedback squeal at the end and an elongated keyboard droning effect. Certainly this track is one of the highlights on the album.

Overall this is a solid album, or EP, but not as good as the first effort "Inner Space" which is spacier in lyrical content and has a lot more innovation in terms of the song structures. The special effects are not as prevalent on this release and the tunes seem to be more commercial sounding which is not necessarily a good thing for psych or space rock. This album tends to compromise more on the side of appealing to a mainstream audience and the music suffers as a result. Having said that, it is nevertheless a solid album and I look forward to a full album as this band at times sounds as innovative as Diagonal and Hawkwind. Both The Ovals releases clock to about 54 minutes and together they create a compelling psych prog journey; a journey I would definitely return to as the band embrace a compelling retro psychedelic 60s sound.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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