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THE OVALS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Australia


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The Ovals biography
THE OVALS, formed as a four-piece rock outfit in Melbourne in 2006, and after gigging and writing for a few years emerged with their first independent release 'Inner Space' in 2009, somewhere in between the realms of Psychedelic, Progressive, and Space rock. Taking inspiration from bands such as Pink Floyd, The Doors, Radiohead and also their own reflections on life, they twist vast atmospheres into structured musical narratives via sweeping guitars and attacking keys grounded by bass and drums.

: : : David Kalkman, Australia : : :

THE OVALS spread out their soundscape with predominant colours of Psychedelic Progressive & Space Rock, and some Canterbury trace. Their spacey posture for rock music can be highly approved by Progarchives Psychedelic Prog/Space Rock Team.

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3.62 | 7 ratings
Inner Space
2009
3.05 | 5 ratings
Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
Beneath The Wheel
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
Acrobat
2012

THE OVALS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Beneath The Wheel by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Beneath The Wheel
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
3 stars This is the sibling EP corresponding to 'Acrobat', both released in 2012 and each of them comprises two songs. A somewhat minimalistic way of expression, yes. But artistic freedom is worthwhile, so much the more when the result appeals in the end. The band's songs are infiltrated by a 70's psychedelia feeling, even provoked by the vocals. But this does not really sound retro exclusively on the other hand. What appeals is the combination of 'new' and 'old' fashion - the opposite of narrow-minded, if you will.

One or two may be reserved due to the uncommon release behaviour - doubts about the musicianship are not appropriate though. Equally to the other EP the second song - which does not represent the title track - knocks my socks off really. In the first instance it's the unusual beat, which needs some time to make friends. But then the following jamming part, just right from the middle, is made of an irresistible atmosphere, fantastic! This leads to the conclusion, that THE OVALS are an interesting band to explore - there you are.

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 Acrobat by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Acrobat
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
3 stars 2012 saw two new mini EP's recorded by Australian THE OVALS ... heaven knows why it turned out in this way ... but the songs are worthwhile in any case, and that counts. Besides a pervasive 70's psychedelia flavour another similiarity is to state - all the tracks are starting off relatively standard song oriented, but sooner or later turn into an instrumental part featuring some improv approach, which finally obsesses me completely.

The title track is a nice one, including expressive vocal parts and interesting drum work, this reminds me of fellow countrymen Alithia in some way. The more extended Nobody follows as the highlight here - a perfect piece, initiated by sampled spoken words. Exactly when arriving the point of no return they are drifting into an intriguing jam passage with spacey synths and celestial guitar. Oh, did I mention, that there is another EP in place too? Just try to find their bandcamp page and enjoy!

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 Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.05 | 5 ratings

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Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
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.

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 Inner Space by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.62 | 7 ratings

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Inner Space
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Inner Space" by The Ovals is a spacey trippy release with some innovative ideas bordering on early Pink Floyd influences and Hawkwind.

The Australian band The Ovals hail from the new psychedelic wave where the music becomes part of the consciousness. The lyrics are fairly much based on ideas of entering planetary or cosmic levels of existence. Perhaps there are science fiction elements hidden in the music such as 'Room with a View' with a title reminding me of the fascinating puzzle at the ending of '2001: A Space Odyssey'. I love the whole atmosphere on this album which is very spacey and psychedelic. Each song offers a trippy journey that centres around lengthy instrumentation and acid rock psych prog influences.

'Mars' has a wonderful retro Hammond sound and a strong upbeat tempo, reminding me of The Doors and there are some eclectic musical passages with very pleasant harmonised vocals; "we must face a whole new dawn, hope lies in the sun, we must travel very far". There is a vocal effect that sounds like mission control Nasa overseeing a space mission. The lyrics and swooshing effects confirm the outer space theme; "I can see the earth so far away."

'Elements Outside My Control' is a long song on this album at just over 7 minutes. It is driven with a moderate tempo, a very cool bassline and synth swirls, jazz hi hat cymbal work and spaced out guitar licks. The staccato blasts of power organ are simply excellent musicianship. The track is compelling and really grows on you. The instrumental section fades down and an ethereal atmosphere settles in, reminding me of the stark cold synth lines of Gary Numan's music, and that is a delight to my ears. The jazzy percussion is accompanied by layer upon layer of ambient key pads, a Pink Floyd style guitar solo and a consistent pulsating bass. The music is very relaxing, and yet never dull. The space effects of descending squiggles, Hawkwind style swirls and a rock beat make a fabulous combination. It takes till 5:20 before the vocals come in. The lyrics are a bit like Hawkwind or Diagonal; "feeling happy feeling blue, this is cosmic deja vu, in a place and we're in space," and then we have a delightful end with a strong melody.

'Always' begins with a solid punctuated organ motif after an effect of someone running to somewhere. The science fiction sounds soon come in and a rather pretty melody. The lyrics are as estranged as before and have a strong rhyme and are repeated over and over, words such as 'Subsistence' are rhymed with 'existence'. The tempo picks up pace with a marching beat and some layered synthesizers. The melody is infectious and once again like the 60s sound of The Doors. The retro sound that the band generates is simply a delight.

'Room With A View' has a strong melody that motorvates along with very bold synthlines and a potent lyric; "we're going away for a while, we're leaving you with a room with a view, we're going away for a while, but don't do anything to start a fire". The instrumental break continues for a lengthy time and features spacey synths and a bass heart beat, with sporadic drum patterns. At 4 minutes the song completely settles into a dreamy slow pace and a trippy vocal; "and the hour of consciousness, the meaning is in my head." The violining guitar is simply wonderful and then the effect of a Nasa rocket lifting off with voices stating that "it looks good so far rising into the clear blue Florida sky."

The 'Secret Track' is a 7 minute curiosity and when I first heard it I disliked it as it was a real off kilter experimental piece with a lot of repetition. But when I realised it was a ghost track I was more forgiving as it is really just a bonus addition as all secret tracks are. There are some seagull effects and a rather pleasant guitar picking passage.

Overall my first experience with The Ovals has been a delight. I loved the spaceyness of the music and the no compromise psychedelic approach to the music. The songs are well sung and have a compelling structure. I would have liked the EP to go longer and have more innovative instrumental sections. In essence it is certainly a release that I have never tired of after 5 listens and I believe it is a sound worth returning to often.

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 Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.05 | 5 ratings

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Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars This is their second EP which provides prolific psych songs, coupled with some retro appeal. They set the focus on melody, harmonies here. THE OVALS are acting like a well attuned crew - that's striking really. On the opener Refugees some popular psychedelia appeal shimmers through, I mean the organ and charming vocals for example - however it's rather ambivalent when I consider the opulent synth patterns and the guitar which is fuzzy here and spacey there - and this mix makes the song attractive in the end.

Lost With Bones works nearly in the same way, decorated with a nice groove this time, where Heretic shows tribal drums, mantra-like vocals and soaring guitars. The last track cannot warm my heart in the same way, this ballad loses connection to the previous songs a bit ... as if this is coming from a different recording session. Finally I want to emphasize their compositional skills - this Australian boys are able to work out entertaining songs. In a wider sense comparable with my german fellows Okta Logue. Enough substance and spirit in order to offer a full length album soon, which is successful on top of it, I would say - 3.5 stars.

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 Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.05 | 5 ratings

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Into The Eyes of Those Who Sleep
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

3 stars The OVALS' come back here with their second EP "Into The Eyes Of Those Who Sleep", that's got more refined and more of mainstream than previous one.

Please let me say they've seemed to hitch a ride upon popularity, rather than eccentricity (this means of course, not such a bad change). Yes, all of their stuffs in this album are well-structured, polished, and easily understandable. Regardless of this manner, they could keep, with their strong intention, their psychedelia created with Tadhg's fuzzy and drone guitar rasps, David's old-fashioned but keener keyboard taps, Danny's deep and persistent bass flood, and Duane's relaxed but steady drumming ... with some Kosmiche hints all the whilst. The first track "Refugees" is just well-represented along with their soundscape. Based on widespread deep bass blows and drumming, hazy guitar screams and fuzzy sweet voices can be around the audience. The tune itself has a definite mainstream, but spacey atmosphere that cannot be seen in typical pop scene is tremendous, and should construct their rigid-touched style. The last "Persephone's Groove" reminds me sensuality in Les Rallizes Denudes or Acid Mothers Temple (without any noisy feedback) or strike me into 60s psychedelic (and self-asserted!) organ-based goodie period.

As mentioned above, each song can be crystallized and as a result sparkling. However, at the same time it's a bit difficult for me to find conception united with the whole album ... in this sense, this time I cannot realize "novelty" in them. Let me say, looking forward to their full album indeed.

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 Inner Space by OVALS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.62 | 7 ratings

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Inner Space
The Ovals Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

3 stars Not mainstream but colourful delicious Space Rock they push forward!

The occasionally-pitchshifted spacey rhythm section, Tadhg's bluesy guitar, and David's dreamy, delightful keyboard & synth solo ... all of them create a fantasy called The OVALS. First, Mars with echoic sounds by all instruments and voices, and with a bit stoner atmosphere, can stick us onto the dreamy star Mars. Also mellow, flexible chorus can be nutrition for our mind-ground. (Anyway, whose voice is this?) The latter part can remind me (a Japanese) Japanese enka flavour with elegantly tragic nobility. The next Elements Outside My Control drops deeply, deeply heavy sound-bomb onto us directly ... all of their items are completely exploded perfectly but gracefully. The wonderful point is such a heavy song can be seasoned with much beautiful melody and essence. David's simple organ solo absorbs our whole inner space in the song Always. Of course, his organ should be held tightly by Duane & Danny's solid rhythm section like a shining star. And their attitude goes smoothly ahead into the last dramatic song Room With A View ... and moreover, Secret Track is a twisted and whacked psychedelic tour ... exactly oval overtone.

Bravo.

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Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the artist addition.

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