After their successes with debut album Land, the London-based avant garde quartet, Novella, have let their sophomore LP Change of State saunter into 2017 with chugging bass-lines and brittle guitar jaunts. Recorded on an old 8-track from the 1960s and in a Victorian bedroom studio, straight away there’s an air of mysticism to Change of State, and as the 10 tracks on the album progress, it rings more and more true.
Drifting straight in, ‘Does The Island Know?’ delivers jangling guitar licks laced over the top of a panting bass and looping drum tracks, which continues straight through on ‘Change of State’, where reverb-heavy chopping chords take centre stage. Bringing Change of State into a new realm of psychedelia, ‘Desert’ gives off a curling sound accompanied by ascending electronic snippets, also seen on other tracks on the album like ‘Come In’ with electro-undertones nestling Change of State into a crossover between Jefferson Airplane and Hawkwind, with a 21st Century twist.
Continuing the garage sounding drum tracks and utterly psychedelic tilt on the album, ‘Elements’ and ‘A Thousand Feet’ act as the sonic embodiment of a kaleidoscope before ‘Thun’ brings a ticking and edging suspense to an otherwise slow grooving album. As Change of State steps closer to its finale, ‘Four Colours’ hangs in mid-air with hypnotic off-kilter synthesisers, non-stop repetitive bass-lines, and dainty vocals, whilst ‘Side By Side’ brings a new lease of life in taking a not-quite-indie-rock stance. Closing off Change of State, Novella bring in ‘Seize the Sun’ – a rock and roll style jam that leaves the album in a state of gaiety.
Sounding much like it could be the soundtrack to the ’90s black comedy Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Novella’s debut offering is soporific and energetic, whilst still upholding saturnine elements – promising of greater things to come from the psychedelic quartet, Change of State is, in the simplest terms, mind-bending.
You can grab your copy of Change of State here.
Words by Jasmin Robinson