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Novatia - Remind you of yourself  CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.00 | 3 ratings

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4 stars So the improbable happened the other day, actually a month ago when I landed on this Dutch band, previously unheard and unknown, they had a few songs on this their debut album "Remind You of Yourself" that simply blew my mind away, though quite subtly I must say. I looked up their website and the group photo grabbed my attention with unbounded fury, five totally different looking musicians who shared the notion of smile, from one extreme to the other. Beaming smile, then a less radiant one, then a huge smirk, followed by barely a sneer, and ending in just plain, no smile but still happy! Talk about group synthesis, osmosis or convergence, call it what you will! Heavily grooved with some intricate yet basic structures and a passionate delivery, fueled by a killer vocalist and great band dynamics. These guys get it! They created their own style and its simply fabulous, a prog group with an arsenal of spine tingling melodies and the ability and desire to deliver it sonically. Way too intense to be pop prog, its message is undeniable, a commitment to create sublime, atmospheric music but loaded with passion and fire. Joep Selen has a tremendously gifted voice, deeply emotive and sincere , perhaps more comfortable in the higher range but to me, this has always been the perfect barometer of a vocalist, one who can navigate the high notes with drive and sustain and proceed to blow all the growly rockers to smithereens! That is the measure and Joep comes shining through each time. Axeman Rindert Bul is not the flashy type but prefers lightning bolt interventions when needed, which is often. His style is assured and elegant, slippery and erudite in a myriad of settings, from pastoral to ripping electric. Ingmar Kops is a keyboard Van Gogh, adding tones, textures and musical paint to the overall canvas. In general, Dutch prog drummers hold their own and then some. Joost Lobbes is a classic prime timekeeper who is solid and propulsive. Finally, Fabian van Dijk mans the 4 string hydraulic propeller, pushing, urging and even shoving things along, in order to get to the Promised Land. That is a cool lineup and a super cool image. Dedicated, committed and hugely dynamic, this just may be the best stuff I have heard from Holland in ages, who keep introducing new players in a fresher, brighter style like Our Oceans or Fractal Mirror , for example. Again having a voice to match the arrangements make this a must buy for our dear prog 'confrerie', musical brothers in arms (or ears).

The EP contains five tracks, all sensational, homogeneous yet also diverse within their tight, I mean tight, musical approach, each an outright jewel in their own right. Instead of talking about the tunes in their sequence, why not start with the final track "Blank Home", which will slay anyone who listens to it the very first time (like a real virgin!). A heart wrenching, near 7 minute comet of emotion, searing the darkness of space with such a bold statement, the sheer mannerisms and confidence required to pull this off with merely a bead of sweat rippling onto the console. "Imperfection" starts the adventure on a poignant note, with expressive voice, forlorn piano and brittle guitar all uniting as one, a slick beat then kicks in, propelling a jazzy, funky sonic breeze into dreamland that is immediately appealing in the most pleasant way possible: a strong set of melodies that make one wonder where they might have heard this before. Joep delivers an adroit vocal, in a manner close to Skeem's Serge Barbaro. Things heat up considerably with a sinewy bass fueled groove on "Closer", a rather unassuming shuffle that is atmospheric to the hilt, loads of melancholia thrown in for good measure. Pleading vocals add to the emotion, the slight accent actually quite original and in no way detrimental to the enjoyment. "How Does It Feel" has a jazzy feel, something akin to Squeeze, with a bouncy bass riff motoring the vehicle nicely, warm breeze and a cool sense of contentment. Rindert shoots off a simple guitar solo and Joep soars once again, high and mighty. "Closer to Next" sounds like a continuation of the "Closer" track, moodier and even more impressive, shuddering organ waves, colourful bassist van Dijk carving another noteworthy groove on which the various keyboard and guitar colorations hang on for dear life, gently effective and insistent. A Truly fine track, with loads of feeling and sensation, Rindert Bul shoving a nice solo while Joep adorns the delirious chorus with gusto. Easily the EP's triumphal peak! The finale "Blank Home" is just right behind, as expressed earlier, a suave and silky closing piece to an innovative, gently pleasing and mature work. A sensationally pretty cover seals the deal and a promise of more to come.

4 Self imaged mirrors

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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