In the wake of her eponymous debut LP from last year, Novaa looks to the future on her new album “The Futurist”. At least, a future; before a time-line we were forced to think altogether differently; before we had no idea what was happening tomorrow, let alone next week or toward the end of this year!
Novaa is to alt-pop what the look of Pls Pls Me inspired me to expect of that duo, on the vocal spectrum that incorporates Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews and Björk. Back in 2016 during the Novaa / Moglii collaboration, their body of work incorporated all the effects and sounds that emanate more often than not from the TripleJ and DoubleJ transmitters. She backed that one up later that year with the “Stolen Peaches” EP which was actually a nine-track collection of pop, trance, and other electronic danceable gems.
Last year’s record “Club Paradise” was three mixes of the title and the Occupanther remix of Denim Queen on the B-side which had a distinct reggae/dance-hall/dub feel to it. The LLUCID remix of Club Paradise merges so many different styles and sounds you lose track! Eastern-bloc movie-theme effects and heavy-bassed effects that Matt Bellamy has used on the last 2-3 MUSE albums to name just two. The DLA Remix is more your latter-day Kylie-pop offering; while your Paul Mond remix is your Ibiza rave / 1990s Ricky Martin La Vida Loca-styled Latin track aimed right at the solar-plexus and hips alike.
The one thing I have loved most about dance-music since the 1990s is the way a producer or DJ can take a basic track and make it into something altogether different: a metal track could be turned into a slow-and-sad ballad, as an example, and the three remixes here just offer Club Paradise to a whole range of audiences. Beautifully done, team Novaa!
But now to “Futurist”, and from the opening notes of AI Am In Love to the closing Day In A Life-fade of Planet Earth, we are treated to oh so much more Novaa. The voice has grown and matured and her work spans so much of the musical spectrum whilst retaining the beats, wherever possible, sometimes unexpectedly. The songs are as deep and powerful as the production values that go into creating them: Alien and In Vitro stand out as surprise acoustic-guitar ballads, and the title leaps right back out after the softer, gentler segment of the record. Universe Lullaby builds to a crescendo from a Laurie Anderson-inspired love-song; and Cyber Room speaks, in a meld of Alien and LLUCID to a common issue in today’s connected world: “I thought I was safe in here”, with the pace and instrumentation of the track suggesting that she was never going to be safe from her stalker.
01. AI Am In Love
05. The Futurist
06. Universe Lullaby
07. To Be Yang
08. Cyber Room
09. Star Child
10. In Vitro
11. Planet Earth