Novella Noise are no novices when it comes to the music scene. You might already know them as the popular gloucestershire band ‘ The Peppermint Hunting Lodge’ who have had a string of successes over the previous years, playing all over the UK, headlining and sharing the stage with bands such as Funeral for a Friend, Pulled Apart by Horses, The Automatic, The Rifles and many others. The band are back, with a new name and new songs and a quality of sound that was definitely worth the wait. So sit back, plug in and perk your ears up as we take you through the short but sweet melodies that are the bands new self titled EP.
‘Novella Noise’, consists of four tracks beginning with opener: the Artist. The track can be forgiven for sounding very Muse like in their first few bars of rhythmic electro beat under a rich tempered vocal that hooks you into the song almost immediately. However, once the vocals emerge, the track seems to descend into something reminiscent of hardline Bullet for my Valentine, seemingly too quickly overpowering the feel of the song. The verse before the main chorus appears to be battling against the underlying instrumental, and the choppy style of the arrangement makes it slightly difficult to focus. But the bridge evens it out with its stripped down piano layered backing. After this, with the movement into the next verse, the vocal is and can afford to be powerful, as it gives the song a natural peak after the low key bridge. If you ignore the beginning of the song this would actually be a welcome dramatic uplift that syncs with the rise in tempo and pitch, creating an emotive and stirring ending with punch, power and echoing vocals before ending on a lithe piano melody that has the effect of making the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.
Heights is a song that packs a punch straight off the first few opening bars and seems more contained and streamlined than The Artist. The opening vocals are gentler this time round, with a purer tone that hooks you in immediately before the electro rhythmic backing takes control. Heights feels better in terms of its arrangement and sounds more solidly mixed. It shines in a way that a really comfortable sounding songbook a comfortable band would do. What works here is the hardline backing with the rocky tempered grit of the vocals that counter each other and add to the solid guitar riffs under vocal/harmony arrangement that gives the track a dramatic cinematic feel, which resonates and pulls the listener in.
Orpheus on the other hand takes a non systematic turn. Entering with a darker and more cinematic tone to the intro that makes you think back to the cerebus rpg soundtrack, it feels as if the intro will lead on to a gentle and mellow vocal. However, the sudden switch from intro to verse, is then all the more sudden as vocals and rock instrumental clash together in a barrier of sound. Instead of sounding tone less and samey it breaks up the rush of sound with an unusual instant chorus followed by a gifted set of tongue twister lyrics ‘stop and watch/we watched the stop watch/watch star…’. The shortness of the verses and its arrangement gives it the feel that it is a sample rather than an entire song, whether intentional or not, this gives the track an effective intense energy from the start. With the addition of a piano led instrumental before the looping bridge the song is given an added overall indie/alternative synth feel but with enough raw rock edge to give it a distinctive moving sound.
The Other Stole the Sky is the final of the four tracks on the EP and by no means least, it doesn’t disappoint. The intro is a wall of sound akin to that of Sigur Ros or The Cinematic Orchestra with a little of The Verve for good measure. With an echoing anthemic feel to the ongoing verse, as that of Radiohead or Muse; accompanying sweeping instrumentals in the background alongside proud vocals, lift the song off its hinges and into an emotive block of sound that would be amazing to listen to live while being just as amazing through speakers. The hook in this track is the way it builds subtly but with force and guile, layer after layer and ending the album with Novella’s now recognisable energy and creativity in shaping their sound and producing tracks that are just that: recognisable, energetic but also unique in their own way.
The EP feels as an EP should, a selection of tracks formulated to highlight the best of what these guys have to offer, whilst also dangling the unlimited possibilities yet to come.
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Novella Noise’s self titled EP is available now to download from their website or you can check them out here (and try before you buy):