London based quartet Novella have released ‘Change of State’ the follow up to debut LP ‘Land’. It is a record that crafts rare groove basslines, energetic percussion, soothing keys and low fi distortion, into palatable, philosophical protest pop. However, it would be a mistake to let the ethereal chorus dripped harmonies beguile you into thinking this is dream-pop without depth. The songs, their titles and lyrical content are emotive and provoke thought, asking considered questions about the contemporary cultural, economic and political issues that face our social world.
This is no accident. Having toured their debut album extensively, seen, heard and gathered a wealth of experience pertaining to the world around them, the band found themselves in a period of reflection. It follows then that Novella’s follow up LP is a collection of songs that tackle themes regarding the contemporary of social and political issues they have observed. Whilst, simultaneously having managed to find a karmic balance in the content between heavy themes and soothing sonics. The album is very listenable blend of psyche, surf sounds, danceable garage-rock rhythms and meditative, mind opening pollinations. Over the course of ten tracks, Novella take the time and space necessary to let the physical and ideological implications behind a changing state run rampant through themes that linger as much in topical discussion as they do in perennial reflections of human experience.
Opener ‘Does the Island Know’ sets the theme of the album. A groovy number with a muffled amen break submerged under guitars that glitter like a kool-aid acid test pool. Sophy Hollington’s lyrics shimmer across the surface in waves of enlightenment. In title track “Change of State” echoed and reverberating rock riffs tumble over bubbling bass as freedom of thought and those who seek to restrict it are referenced. In a reality of false idols and fake news, who is the more foolish, the fools, or the fools that follow them. echo and reverberating rock riffs tumble over bubbling bass. ‘Deserts’ haunting melancholy feels evocative of a mid-tour dip in form and familiar to that homesickness we all have felt when we’ve been out in the wilderness too long. ‘Elements’ percussion is strongly reminiscent of the swing and tempo of Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’. A sort of beat-adelic/psych-nik poetic whirlpool of lyrically laced sonic spirals. ‘A Thousand Feet’ is an elevated pause amidst a herbal breath. Its components fluctuating in a cosmic cascade, and washes ‘Deserts’ drain away in a cool breeze.
“Thun” touches on birth and the freedom of movement, which is mirrored in it’s almost motorik thrust. With deftly deployed subtlety, the album revolves around themes of conspiracy theories, elections, sound mirrors and the disillusioned texts of Murakami, JG Ballard and Kurt Vonnegut. ‘Come in’ is a sixties signalled call to thought and oscillates in, through and out of one’s cortex as quickly as its short broadcast lasts. ‘Four Colours’ has a cool Mancini-Funk about its stepping bass that drives underneath the sustained synth lead and kaleidoscopic combination of vocals and atmospheric effects. ‘Side by Side’ returns to grizzly distortion, rousing and uplifting, encouraging us as listeners to contemplate the albums themes but not give up on hope and to instead ‘Seize the Sun’. The latter being the end track to an outstanding album closing the LP as it does, in a perfectly anthemic and unifying style.
You don’t usually get such deep revolutionary topics coming at you in this way. Novella’s new album is a fresh approach to intellectual indie and makes for a welcome ‘Change of State’.
Novella – ‘Change of State’ is out now on Sinderlyn Records. Find out more here: