Local Reviews: Exer Ovu

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Exer Ovu
Got an Extra Set of Wings if You Could Use a Couple E.P.
Street: 03.09
Exer Ovu = Against Me! + Devendra Banhart
Exer Ovu, the acoustic music project of Derek Griffith, uniquely combines the energy of acoustic punk with the flamboyance of freak folk.  Griffith has an expressive voice that he uses mostly to good effect, notably on opener “You’re Making Me Nervous,” a minute-long blast of hoarse four-chord punk.  An idiosyncratic approach can easily lead to missteps, but even those are more interesting than the times when Griffith sounds reluctant to fully inhabit his distinctive sound.  “Offer” is the most melodious of the five songs here, but even though the listener wants to hum it afterwards, the presentation isn’t fully convincing.  On a CD where the presentation is the most compelling element, “Offer” doesn’t belong.  The low point, however, is the Hüsker Dü cover “Too Much Spice.”  The kiss of death for acoustic music is making the listener want to hear a full band, and this cover just doesn’t do anything interesting enough to justify the lower energy of the instrumentation.  Griffith is on his way to establishing his own voice, and there are some great moments on the E.P., but he still has a little way to go.