Novella’s aptly named new record, Change of State, is an indie band’s response to the rapidly shifting sociopolitical landscape, both at home and abroad. One could easily listen to all 10 tracks without sensing the gravity of its themes, but hidden under the flow of its mellow psychedelic rock are deep-rooted concerns about the state of the world and the people in it.
Vocalists Hollie Warren and Sophy Hollington harmonize on song “Thun” as they examine the ideas behind socially imposed borders and their impact on the European migrant crisis. They highlight the impossible situations many refugees face: “Time to leave but we won’t breathe/ ‘Cause we lost the war and don’t know anymore/ You don’t know how you might go/ Into the world.”
On “A Thousand Feet,” a catchy guitar hook repeats as Warren scrutinizes the outcome of England’s—her native country—vote to leave the European Union. The vocals on this track sound somewhat upbeat, but the content of the lyrics contrasts strongly as she expresses frustration and anger at being misled, as well as fear of Brexit’s repercussions. She also illustrates the ambivalence felt by many Britons: “And I feel this country move away/ All our senses scream to stay/ And I feel the cold drop a thousand feet/ You’ve taken us here and now I fear/ That there’s nothing left.”
Change of State was recorded on a ‘60s 8-track, and this clearly contributed to its refreshingly clean, simplistic and almost Doors-esque sound. Because it’s not overwrought with studio afterthoughts and tweaks, this record feels honest, thoughtful and relevant.
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