It seems like ages ago that I brought you word of an excellent new tune from Novella and now it's time for me to share my thoughts on their equally excellent debut record. Called Land it's out next week on Sinderlyn and the album is an intoxicating mix of near-shoegaze tropes and bright flourishes of neo-psychedelia. While a song like the wonderfully titled "Again You Try Your Luck" flirts with a style close to what Velocity Girl was doing on their early releases, something like "Sky is Open" is far more expansive and percussive. Recalling The Dream Syndicate and Opal, that final song on the record is one of many that pegs this act as more than shoegaze revivalists.
And let's get it out of the way right now: Yeah, Novella sound a tiny bit like Lush circa Spooky (1992) in some spots. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But you're gonna read a lot of reviews of this band that make that comparison. The band should be flattered, I guess, but also a little angry 'cause they do so much more with their sound on Land.
Take for example opener "Follow" with its bass throbs and cymbal crashes. The cut sounds nothing like any shoegaze band to me and, instead, gives props to acts like The Feelies. "Something Must Change" rocks like Spiritualized trying their hand at a late-period VU number, while "Two Ships" is like "Eight Miles High" as it would sound if played by an early line-up of Stereolab.
Like Stereolab, Novella are, unfairly, gonna get pegged a shoegaze act but, really, that says more about the lack of adjectives in critics' notebooks than it does about the music here on Land. Superbly blending a uniquely heavy rhythmic sound, Novella create mesmerizing near-jams (the wildly catchy "Land Gone") and more expansive attempts at what could only be called space rock. But that's just a lazy way of describing them and does little justice to their entirely unique sound.
Find out for yourself and grab Land by Novella on Monday or Tuesday depending on where you live in this world and when it's released where you are.