Novella – Murmurs (EP) (Italian Beach Babes)


Oh! What sweet, sweet noise.

With their debut album due out next year, London based psychedelic-rock quartet Novella share a glimpse at what’s to come with their new EP, ‘Murmurs’.

Last October we reviewed the band’s single “Mary’s Gun”, which was said to be a truer reflection of their combined influences – Stereolab, Velvet Underground, and My Bloody Valentine. Indeed the Stereolab and My Bloody Valentine influences were evident. In fact, overall the track had a very 90’s feel to it with a chorus to die for.

‘Murmurs’ features four new songs recorded in one day by Jack Cooper from Mazes and Mark Jasper at SoundSavers in Homerton. Interestingly where “Mary’s Gun” was recorded by Jerome Watson (The History of Apple Pie) and Joshua Third (The Horrors) in The Horrors’ studio and boasted some of the psychedelic guitar textures that were heard throughout The Horrors’ album, ‘Primary Colours’, the new EP displays a similar styling to that of Mazes.

The recording approach (i.e. recording everything in one day!) certainly aids the songs with a raw, organic quality and a genuinely vintage sounding production.

Channeling The Velvet Underground, opening track “Blue Swallows” is quite simply a lovely slice of noise, which builds slowly but by 1:40 is radiating with glorious noise. Falling just short of 6 minutes, “Blue Swallows” features Hollie Warren’s sugary vocals set against a wall of jangly guitars, which grate and tear at the speakers.

Next up is the up-tempo krautrock-y “Phrases” and it’s here that Novella give nod to Manchester’s Mazes with its noisy, rhythmic, angular guitar work (read our review of Mazes’ excellent ‘Ores & Minerals’ album from earlier this year). This instrumental number is both repetitive and journeying racket – again, two qualities often found in Mazes.

“Follow” continues with more of the Mazes / krautrock-inspired melodic guitar work with a dancing bass line. It’s not until 2:15 that Hollie’s vocals enter which then disappear some 90 seconds later.  Its melodies are angular and repetitive and after just one listen will be swimming around in your brain long after.

Lastly, the fourth final track is a reworked, slow-paced version of the aforementioned single, “Mary’s Gun” entitled “Slow Mary”. Cool stuff.

A great little EP, which more than hints at what’s instore for Novella next year. ‘Murmurs’ will be released on cassette today, Monday 14 October, 2013 via Italian Beach Babes.

Listen to “Follow” below: