Sunday, 2 July 2017

EP REVIEW: Ovter God - Kvlt Life

Everyone loves a good side project every now and then. Especially Rabbit Junk mastermind JP Anderson. Over the years he’s had plenty down the years, from the crushing digital hardcore of The Named, through Wolves Under Sail’s folk metal and via the steampunk prog metal of Fighting Ice With Iron, he’s never been afraid to use a new project to try something new. This year is no different, with the unveiling of self styled “killwave” duo Ovter God alongside singer Rhiannon Harrigan. Using a combination of synthwave, industrial and gothic influences, their debut EP Kvlt Life sees Anderson step into unknown territory and a surprisingly accessible sound.

The primary basis for Kvlt Life's sound seems to be around retro synths and a brooding, gothic atmosphere. Although not the primary vocalist, JP Anderson seems to be channelling his inner Robert Smith at times with Ovter God, shifting between moody singing and occasional moments from his higher vocal register on “Unnamable”. On the whole, though, the majority of the vocal work on the EP is left to Harrigan, whose vocal style complements the catchy fusion of gothic rock and industrial music well. The two vocalists trade off well throughout, and it’s almost surprising that this is the first time they’ve worked together – there’s not much info on Harrigan’s musical background so we can’t really gauge how much experience she has as a vocalist, but if this is her first full venture into music then she’s done a sterling job on her first effort.

Musically, practically all of the work has been done by Anderson, in a primarily electronic affair. It’s incredibly left field compared to the work he’s done beforehand, with only “Broken Highways” from 2015 Rabbit Junk EP Invasion giving any sort of indication that he was preparing to write this sort of music, and he does a sterling job with it. When guitars are brought into play, they’re subtly mixed into the overall soundscape (such as on “Unruhe” and scattered throughout “Media”). Meanwhile, “Nothing Left” has the same sort of jumpy electronic sounds that were heard on the RJ EP Beast, coming by far the closest to a Rabbit Junk song of anything Ovter God have offered on Kvlt Life, complete with the same sort of build up and break heard on RJ songs “Beast” and “Fffriends”. It’s definitely the most danceable track on the EP.

On Kvlt Life, Ovter God don’t really do all that much to step outside of the boundaries they’ve set themselves for their first effort. It feels rather odd to see a JP Anderson project that rarely does anything to divert from its already established sound, as listeners by now will be so used to hearing him freely shift from genre to genre throughout the space of a few tracks, but at the same time it’s an oddly refreshing feeling to know what’s coming and to see him set out to fully establish a fleshed out sound that we can be 100% assured he’ll expand on if they record again, unlike previously explored and later dropped ventures such as the genre combinations of This Life Is Where You Get F__ked and Project Nonagon. Sometimes it’s good to have an established comfort zone that you can build from and that fans can expect more from. Let’s hope that Ovter God can build on this on their next release, although as JP is busy writing and recording the next Rabbit Junk album, we may have to wait a little while.

You can stream and download Ovter God’s debut EP Kvlt Life below and check them out on Facebook.