Underworld - "Ova Nova" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

7 September 2016

This is a composite of everything that is good about Underworld but pushes their sound forward to fit squarely in the present day.
 

Adriane Pontecorvo: Cosmic electronics shine and uplift on “Ova Nova”, a joyful, dynamic single from Underworld’s first new studio album in six years. Buoyant vocal harmonies lie at the heart of the song, lending a sweetness and a strength to clear, simple beats. A glorious example of how to add layers and layers onto a simple, repetitive foundation without losing any momentum. [9/10]
  

Andrew Paschal: A deft, trance-y piece of house music, “Ova Nova” also carves out a minimalist interior space that feels less like a night out clubbing than a reflection and cumulative memory of the club experience. When given the proper attention, the melody and texture shine; if not, they can easily and lamentably fade into the background. While Karl Hyde is not necessarily the most talented or engaging vocalist, there’s something appealing and charming about his unadorned, unassuming delivery that reminds me of vocalists from other acts that have sprung up since the band’s formation in 1980, like Moby, Hot Chip, and the Notwist. [7/10]

Paul Carr: This slow burning drawl is unmistakably Underworld. However, this is no mere regressive, nostalgia trip. Unhurried, looping beats are overlaid with Karl Hyde’s treated, slightly muffled vocals. That on its own would be enough were it not for the bright and airy keyboard lines that illuminate the song about halfway in. This is a composite of everything that is good about the band but pushes their sound forward to fit squarely in the present day. [8/10]

Landon MacDonald: A five-minute, progressive house jaunt. The ghostly vocals sound like something Brian Eno would have buried in the mix, but here, to the songs detriment, they are placed front and center, closer to the sound of a Moby B-side. The synths are tasty as always, and could have carried the track on their own. Less is more, especially in house music, but I am sure the right agent could get this on a JC Penney in store soundtrack. [5/10]

William Sutton: Electronic luminaries Underworld have released another single from the strong Barbara Barbara, We Are Facing a Shining Future. “Ova Nova” is a beautifully layered track, shimmering in ‘90s house stylings. Karl Hyde’s vocals are given an electronic warp that adds further tenderness to the track as he draws you in with the refrain “change your mind”. The video is a trippy take on a live concert experience and is a nice accompaniment to the track, but never distracts from the song itself. [8/10]

Michael Pementel: “Ova Nova” is part relaxing club song (which who knows if that actually works), and part great background party music. What it accomplishes is a pleasant atmosphere that also invites you (if you’re up to say): “What the hell, let’s dance.” [5/10]

Chris Ingalls: A band that’s been around as long as Underworld, particularly if the band embraces the fickle sounds of electronic music, needs to sound fresh and vital in order to remain relevant. Fortunately, on their latest album, Underworld delivers. “Ova Nova” is a deep, soothing slice of electronic haze nailed down by a steady beat that’s sure to please dancefloor dwellers. There’s not a whole lot of “edge” here, but there doesn’t really need to be. [7/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Not too shabby for robot music, truthfully. Melodious and creative, proof positive that a great video can carry a song. Hypnotic and driving, tinges of classic house music, electronica, and future real. I think my wife works out to this every morning in the basement or it may just be that this is the drum beat to every song in this vein. [4/10]

SCORE: 6.63

//related
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article