ALBUM REVIEW: Novella ‘Land’

Novella’s debut album ‘Land’ has a life of it’s own.  The opening song ‘Follow’ is infectious in guitars and pulsating electronics and, with dreamy vocals stylistically akin to Broadcast, it is a positive omen for the rest of the record.  This is no surprise as the London five piece have been a name on everybody’s “ones to watch” lists for a good few years now, however the recent release shows a band who have grown into their own identity, and have flourished in doing so.  The previous “60s dream/psych pop” labels may still have their influence here, but there are sounds those labels wouldn’t suggest in the album. The result of the recording sessions – overlooked by Jonas Verijnen (Moon Duo, Ballet School) and Joshua Hayward (The Horrors) – are stunning: Novella have created a tempest out of diverse influences, which are bold in their re-imaginings.

Something Must Change’ is a force to be reckoned with that would be at home equally in solo listening and a playlist to dance to until in the early hours of the morning. Hailing distorted guitars, vibrant bass and no nonsense vocals (“You will never see yourself/I don’t wanna talk like somebody else”) Novella are in their element.  Other stand out tracks include the planetary ‘Sentences’ and the grittier yet melodic ‘Two Ships’. The single ‘Land Gone’ incorporates the band’s signature relaxed vocal harmonies and countless layers of projecting sounds, and is, for want of a better description, very good.

Again You Try Your Luck’ is a conversation all too many twenty-somethings can relate to. The blunt realisation of differences are cutting and beautiful in delivery: “I had my mother’s charm again/Swallow it all up and then/Takes a while to begin…I don’t care about your band/ Tell your stories to a friend”. It’s this honesty captured in the purity of the songwriting that makes the album. ‘Land’ depicts the edge of emotional fragility and strength with accompanying ecstasy, although there is space for further dynamic changes on the record. Whilst the mirage of psychedelic sounds are brilliantly captured, Novella aren’t a band who are a dusty reminiscence of a 60s theme.  They stand alone in the ever-growing construction of psychedelic pop, each song a story of modern day life, the fingerprints of which are frozen in time.