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Stove - "Is The Meat That Fell Out" | Album Review

by Sean Deveney (@autonomousnloud)

Checking out new bands can be a fun adventure, but I always feel like I’m coming home when I listen to Stove and Ovlov because they just won’t let you down. There’s something about Steve Hartlett singing in a sea of noise that just makes everything okay for a little while.

Before I heard Ovlov, I had rarely come into contact with the mixture of deafening guitar fuzz and (good) heartfelt, melodic vocals. Upon listening to Am, my mind and ears were instantly and delightfully blown. Those who are looking to carry on with this feeling of utter amazement can turn to Stove and find many of the same qualities as well as some new approaches (don’t skip over the two Ovlov EPs though).

Is The Meat That Fell Out, Stove’s third release, starts off gently with “The Meat.” The drums are relatively quiet and contained as is the guitar while Hartlett sings softly and eases you into the record. The transition to “Bubblegum Lightning” is smooth, and the listener is instantly bombarded with rhythmic fuzz. The verses give way to a slow, distant howl from the guitar that soars through the fuzz and then breaks into a prickly and ear-bleeding solo.

Jordyn Blakely takes on vocal duties for “Blank,” a song that lowers the volume but not the intensity. Her vocals set a tone of quiet sorrow mixed with resignation while the guitar and drums remain in the background. “I wanna change, but I’m the same. Drew a picture of me with no face. No you’re not to blame. It’s a lucky guess.” The guitar briefly steps out for a quiet and subdued solo that bolsters the tone of the lyrics before the song ends. “Favorite Owl” is also somewhat quieter but takes on an almost ambient style, whereas “Dolphins” picks the volume back up and has a steady barrage of noise that surrounds the murky vocals.

“I’d Walk A Mile For A Camel” emerges next and takes an already impressive group of songs and elevates it to another level. When I return to Stove for solace, this is usually where I go first. Honestly, just listen to it. Everything is amazing, and it’s overwhelming but in a good way. After a ridiculously good hook opens the song, Hartlett sings “said goodbye to an old friend making time to waste on you” as the listener is drenched in a heavy downpour of fuzz. At this point, the EP is already sufficiently mind-blowing but then “James And The Giant Moth” concludes it by alternating between a quiet, melancholic guitar riff and an explosion of emotion.

The reason I continue to come back to Stove is because they constantly seem to be testing what is possible and never stop experimenting with their sound and song structures. Finding a band that you can always return to and feel the same sense of amazement and comfort is a rare and valuable thing.