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Novatia - Reflections of Thoughts CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Dutch band Novatia has a rather innovative (sorry, could not help myself!) method to its madness, by releasing a short EP in 2015 and following up with another in 2016, the two combining to form an outright first CD release. "Remind Yourself of You" was a successful initiation of sound and style that certainly set the bar high with breathtaking melodies on tracks like "Imperfection", "Closer to the Next" and Blank Home". Lead vocalist Joep Selen infuses a whopping amount of emotion in his delivery, giving the suave instrumentalists a credible and confident platform to earn their keep. On this "Reflections of Thought" EP, the band forges ahead with cunning glaze, furthering their craft with another series of five enameled ditties, taking it to a higher plane. The basic premise is still the same, a furious groove laid down by bassist Fabian van Dijk, well-lubed drumming from Joost Lobbes, shimmering colorations on the Ingmar Kops keyboards and all stitched together by Rindert Bul's crafty guitar excursions.

"Flowing Thoughts" features all those stalwart elements that make Novatia so divinely interesting, armed with huge vocals that have sorrowful intonations, a defiantly honest rhythmic foundation, cool and breezy ivories and a killer fretboard solo from Bul, very simple yet totally effective. But the melody is what pinches the ear and never lets go, twisting and turning like some pissed off school teacher, angry at its insolent pupil.

The romantic side is again expressed by the lilting "If It's Love", and I agree this isn't prog (BTW, why is love never progressive?) in the true sense of the style but nevertheless, the mood is euphoric and palpitating, just like when thunderbolts of lightning occur between 2 strangers.

The culminating prog workout is the moody "Rule", a 6 minute romp loaded with electric piano ruminations, like raindrops gently parachuting on some obedient pond, once again pivoting on a deep bass furrow, slick stick work and Joep howling at the moon with verve and gusto. The finale is pure simplistic genius, harrumphing bass guitar muscling forward undeterred.

This followed by another 6 minute+ tune, a divine bass-led extravaganza that embraces an astute jazz/ funk cocktail that shuffles along masterfully, this time featuring an arsenal of Kops' dreamy ivory pastels, mostly synthesizer or piano ornamentals, very smooth and slick, rekindling images of a solitary nighttime drive home on empty rain soaked streets, slight wind in the air, tired and weary. "Underway" is another fabulous track and proves to me at least, that Novatia actually shine on their proggier, longer tracks, where the musicians get to express themselves beyond just foundational work. Rindert offers up a squeaky clean guitar solo that hits the mark.

A stunning yet short finale puts this review to rest, a heartfelt Joep Selen plea on "And I'll Wait" , acoustic guitar and impassioned voice combine to ooze the deepest sorrow, letting go of painful memories and strident regret. Loveliness incarnate.

Deeply emotive and romantic, this is not technically demanding by any stretch, but on the other hand, extremely well-played, moody and endearing. Novatia is a new kid on the prog block. The two EPs on one make this a shrewd purchase that will please the crossover prog fan .

4.5 Mirrored beliefs

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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