Is it parched?
Our slow boat
Dunedin/Melbourne experimental darkwave duo Ov Pain heralds their fourth album, Reliquary of Dusk, with “On Evil Hour,” a striking inaugural track from the forthcoming LP to be released through Melbourne’s It Records. Barrance’s vocals, ethereal yet imbued with a stark chill, evoke a poignant, impressionistic mood. This mood foregrounds the perils of humanity’s hubristic endeavors disguised as progress. Barrance skillfully dissects the prevailing narrative of self-congratulation, highlighting the fragility of Western norms. She compellingly argues that greed and success have become worryingly interchangeable in modern discourse.
The composition is graced with transcendental, droning synths that create a sombre, otherworldly aura. Barrance, with her signature organ-like chords, weaves a vivid contrast to her ethereal vocal tones. This combination achieves a startlingly beautiful effect, where each mesmerizing segment seamlessly merges into the next, showcasing the finesse born of her extensive experience as an improviser. We hear elements of X-TG, Hiro Kone, Muslimgauze, Coil, Dead Can Dance, and Current 93 in their sound.
The lyrics intricately weave existential motifs, contrasting a metaphorical yearning for life against the backdrop of a critique on the emptiness of surface-level accomplishments. They delve into the superficial nature of social dynamics and relationships, revealing a profound disenchantment with societal norms. Moreover, the song poignantly depicts the degradation of Western society, underscoring humanity’s self-destructive pursuits in the guise of progress. On Evil Hour criticizes chauvinism, the forces perpetuating the often unchallenged status quo, and the destructive human impulses shaping our world.
Player, managing the rhythm section, infuses the track with a substantial presence. His integration of rapid, white-noise hits, sourced from a diverse collection of samples, adds a unique texture. He skillfully layers these elements, aligning them with the track’s evolving narrative to lend a song-like quality, yet maintaining an edginess. This approach artfully balances predictability with an element of the unexpected.
Ov Pain’s latest single is enriched by a collaboration with Tãmaki Makaurau (Auckland) based artist Beth Dawson, known as Ducklingmonster. Dawson, who has carved out a reputation as an artist-provocateur, is recognized for her dynamic and unorthodox approach, seamlessly traversing various mediums to channel her creative vision. She was approached with a straightforward yet empowering request: to “make something killer on your own terms.” This open-ended invitation underscores a profound respect for her artistic autonomy, promising a unique and potentially groundbreaking contribution that aligns with her eclectic style.
Watch the video for “On Evil Hour” below:
Reliquary of Dusk, out on the 8th of December, is available for pre-order here.
You can listen to the single below via Bandcamp:
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