Review: Nova, NovApocalypse

Experimental folk-pop player Nova’s sophomore release gets twisted


Experimental folk-pop player Nova’s sophomore release is a universe away from the North Texas native’s debut album Novaville, a self-released utopia that reveled in bubbly, self-described “narcissistic daydreams.” Modest nightmares color the NovApocalypse, swamped by the eerie, introductory synths of “Hello Novaville.” Making frequent use of ¾ time, Nova’s center holds in folk and blues. Weeping guitar meets ghostly violin, as the bandleader’s voice floats over like a light, cotton blanket. Nova’s twisted turn isn’t all sour; “Birds and Bees” and “4 Leaf Clover” wield the sweetness of a nursery rhyme, while a train whistle on “Boxcar” soothes the track’s cynical heart. The project ironically crests at “Deep Blue Sea,” where Nova’s influences converge. Acoustic guitar scorches with a country lilt, synths swirl a menacing pool around the chorus, and the drum kit snaps the sharp waltz together. Nova’s rooted vocals command “Billy the Shooter,” a mesmerizing Americana campfire tale. And if the penultimate track is the bedtime story, album closer “Go Back to Sleep” is the ice-cold wake-up call. From the NovApocalypse emerges an enticing figure whose traditional genres of catharsis blend with playful pop songwriting and synth landscapes, like a Lynchian Western. It was all just a dream, right?

Nova

NovApocalypse

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