Ov Pain are a cold wave duo from Dunedin, New Zealand featuring Renee Barrance and Tim Player. The two-piece’s self-titled debut is being released on cassette by NZ punk label Zero Style, on cassette and digitally by Australian label Vacant Valley, and there’s an upcoming vinyl edition due out via CocoMuse Releases: pro tip — keep an eye out for that.
Ov Pain mixes ice-cold synth and keyboards with minimalistic percussion and dramatic vocals. Expect bare-boned arrangements and frosty electronics, and a dash of gothic punk atmospherics too. Ov Pain features flickers of Joy Division’s bassy baritone gloom, and glimpses of Suicide’s skeletal silhouette, and there’s a hypnotic Krautpop tempo that calls to mind the debut EP from Dunedin legends Snapper as well.
I don’t want to lead you astray and suggest Ov Pain is necessarily retro, as such, because the album is thoroughly modern in verse and components. But it certainly tips its hat to an age where indie synth sojourns weren’t dipped in irony or ashamed to be outright theatrical. Barrance and Player’s vocal interplay is a key ingredient of the album’s success. Particularly where Player goes deep and dark like a new wave Jim Morrison, or maybe a psychedelic Andrew Eldritch, while Barrance goes high and haunting, giving their music a lingering chill.
There’s plenty of catchy pop to be found on Ov Pain — albeit pop that’s shrouded in twilight’s shade. The album sounds great too. Its bitter and echoing production framing its lo-fi synth and hot-blooded lyrics and impassioned performances perfectly.