Last year Steve Hartlett put out the first album from his then-solo project, Stove. Is Stupider showcased Hartlett’s songwriting talents, a necessary outlet following the break-up of Ovlov. But, less than a year later, a lot has changed. Ovlov is back, but Stove still exists, too. And, most importantly, it’s added three more people to the project. This Friday, Exploding In Sound Records will release Is A Toad In The Rain, an EP that signals a shift in the band’s direction. Much of the EP sees Hartlett eschewing the guitar-heavy songs that typified his past work, and while that’s still present on songs like “Mrs. Robertson” and “Wiggle,” they have a spacier quality that the band’s older material never captured. These grander moments notwithstanding, Is A Toad In The Rain is all around softer than its predecessor. It’s more lo-fi and airy than Stove has ever been before, showing a new side of Hartlett’s songwriting that’s certainly welcome.
Is A Toad In The Rain is available for pre-order through Exploding In Sound.