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Novatia - Flow CD (album) cover

FLOW

Novatia

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 3 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Dutch band from Utrecht continues its progression with a delightful EP that further enhances its originality, expert musicinas looking to blend various styles into a whole new style. ''Flow'' has 5 new pieces that are even more subtle than their previous efforts, compositions that are smooth as silk with jazzy tinges, a funky bass governance and some sparkling guitar leads. Am I alone in enjoying this unique band , I hope not because the prog world would be missing out on quite a treat! Keyboardist Ingmar Kops uses more piano and e-piano to carpet the arrangements, which enhances the elegance of the tracks presented, relying on Fabian van Dijk's thick bass undertow, Joost Lobbes insistent drum presence and Rindert Bul's magic guitar weavings. Once again, lead vocalist Joep Selen offers up plenty of emotion and delicacy in his delivery, at times gentle and others more forceful, hinting at a proggier version of Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) . This is a special band that adds plenty of sunshine to my listening hours.

Inspired by painter Vincent van Gogh's ''Terrace of a cafe at night'' tableau , the 6 minute ''The Night is Filled with Colours'' is overflowing (sic) with velvety tonal shades , depicting a story about a man aimlessly walking through some obscure French village , looking for inspiration for his artistic craft and finally, around a hidden corner, boom! There it is! Gentle keyboard flutters augur in a kaleidoscope of detailed sounds , with tolling guitars welded to ecentric piano motifs , shifty bass and drum structures, enhanced by a main melody expertly navigated by Joep Selen, each section more powerful than the previous, the manic guitar raising the bar constantly, with insistent flair. Smooth guitar soloing only heightens the bliss, perfectly interspaced to maximum effect.

Perhaps the proggiest piece up to now in their catalog, ''Between Lines'' is a sad tirade that illustrates all the negativity so many are attracted to in our 21st paradise of apathy, an existential social malaise that has now gone global, offering the choice of abject surrender or brave courage. Musically, the mood is ponderous at first, quickly turning into manifest rage, with synths whistling despair and guitars tortured by rage. Joep spits his barely hidden venom, his voice and words highlighting the fury, the screeching axe solo carving deep into the soul, trembling and electric. Seven minutes of terrific and adventurous music.

Three shorter songs come into play, each a window of opportunity to continually search for new horizons, making 'flowing' music according to their own tastes and not dictated by big business or elevator muzak demands.

''May We Interrupt'' evolved from the need to jam and discover new sounds , here expertly led by a joyous electric piano romp , chugging guitars that twang and a lilting beat that welds molten jazzy fusion to a solid pop and rock structure , let's say even a slight Steely Dan feel. A whistling synth solo adds pizzaz to the deal.

''This Drive'' slithers into funkier realms, with the bass predominant, the melody bright and impassionate and a sunny howling vocal. Bassist Van Dijk does some thick slapping to give this even more 'drive' , while Selen reaches for some high notes, urging to take it even higher if needed.

The EP ends with ''Before Autumn Comes'', a sad song about choices , about depression and the courage it takes to overcome expectations, the downward spiral that reminds us all of our frail humanity. The atmosphere is chill, laid- back and ponderous. There is a raw feel here, quite minimalist with sweeping synth carpets, shimmering drum patterns and a gentle disposition. A beautiful piece of music , heartfelt (something this band does very well) and unpretentious.

Novatia has all the hallmarks of a tight band that has the musical goods to put together a world class progressive album and properly take a seat in the prog congress of stars, if their first 3 EPs are any indication. There is no reason why Novatia should not please the more melodic prog fan, as they deliver the goods and have all the instrumental gusto to stay along for a long 'flowing' ride.

4.5 waves

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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