Land

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The gist Eagerly awaited debut player from London gazey-psych-pop quintet The music Cracklefeedback first encountered Novella a couple of years back supporting The Soft Pack, and got pretty enthusiastic about what we heard - so much so that we've been keenly anticipating the arrival of Land since - and can happily conclude it was definitely worth the wait. To give an idea of what Novella sound like, let's maybe call it early Lush meets Neu! meets Death in Vegas (a loose comparison at best this last one), or something along those lines, but with some creeping influence from a few Grunge bands, those of the darker side of Grunge. It's very easy to get interested in, because it's essentially very interesting, it's immediately likeable and listenable, drone-y and psychedelic, but also with the energy and verve you perhaps wouldn't expect with such pursuits - there's both a sense defiance and the swagger (or perhaps put better, the belief) of early Britpop before Lad culture brazenly crowbarred it's way in, and that's wonderfully allied with those dreamy, ethereal, repetitive sweeping, swaggering sounds of shoegaze and psych-rock. It's hard though, not to feel a divide between the front half of the album, and the second - it comes on strong from driving opener "Follow" though to the well chosen single "Land Gone" (track 6), an exercise in extended and adventurous pop-song-writing excellence, with great hooks, choruses, popping-basslines, shimmering-arpeggios and crashing drums. The latter half is more experimental say, more exploratory, whilst also gentler and softer and, as is often the case with such directions, warranting of extended listens - regardless of any perceived divisions between front and back though, it's still a fantastic album, crammed with brilliant pop-songs, and what more do you need than that?! Listen to "Follow" - Sweeping, driving, four-on-the-floor opener - sets the tone for much of what follows "Something Must Change" - Spector-ish in both sound and Girl-group attitude "Sentences" - Grungey, morose opening guitar line and harmony, opens-out to bristle with Britpoppy confidence "Land Gone" - Brilliant psych-tinged pop with a huge hook