13 Jun 2015
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz
How does one review an album as good as this without gushing like a starstruck little kid? As it is, everyone I know is going on about it! Novella is a five piece UK group with four women and one guy, produced by Jonas Verijnen (Moon Duo, Ballet School) and Joshua Third (The Horrors). They are easy to gaze upon, and even easier to listen to!
I am reminded of awesome Kiwi rock on opening track, “Follow”. Think more of Bailter Space than The Clean, as the song has a heavier vibe and also reminds me of Stereolab. In fact, it also has a motorik feel to it. Muscular and lean, with a cool fuzzed out guitar joining the sweet mayhem. And then the vocals dive in, and I am totally blissed out. “Something Must Change” continues in that propulsive, distorted vein, capped by sweet, female vocals. Listeners may play spot the influence and could hear bands as disparate as Can and 13th Floor Elevators. Not that it really matters, since Novella has carved their own path in the thickly defined forest of psychedelia that inhabits this planet. The mood completely changes on the lustrous and beautiful “Sentences”, reminding me of downtempo Lush. Stately guitars pair with crystalline harmonies, a perfect mix for this group. Psychedelic touches brush nearly everything on this release, but it’s never heavy-handed or too far out. “Two Ships” starts out with sitar tones and rather quickly morphs into beautiful, joyous noise.
The band’s two new members add a lot of texture to these songs, and the collision of sound meshes perfectly. “Land Gone” has an instantly memorable chorus that most bands would kill for! “Phrases” is equally fine, with that metronome-like drumming I favor in fast step with burgeoning guitar lines. The songs are simple, but the band adds many layers to build an expansive sound. “Blue Swallow” lifts the drum part from “Tomorrow Never Knows” and puts it to effective use in a twisting and turning opus that lasts nearly six minutes. “Younger Than Yesterday” (borrowing a title from The Byrds this time) has watery melodic motes and once again reminds me of Miki and Emma from Lush. “Skies Open” once again employs sitar and marries it to sunny vocals and smoothly strummed guitar. It is the end to this musical journey, one I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to fans of Krautrock and deftly written and played psychedelia.
Get it on CD here (UK/EU), or here (US), or on vinyl here (UK/EU), or here (US).