On their debut long player ‘Land’, the London-based quintet Novella do something entirely different with the omnipresent influence of shoegaze
ith their history for innovation you wouldn’t have put it past The Beatles to have made an effort to mix psychedelia and shoegaze, if they were still around. Thankfully, in the Fab Four’s absence, London quintet Novella have picked up the baton on their debut album Land.
Opener Follow kicks things off with a two-minute psych build-up that sounds like the child of Kula Shaker and Lush, before Hollie Warren’s airy vocal floats in and pulls you out of the clouds. Something Must Change is a more straight-up indie track – but only marginally so, with its vibe cosmic and guitars womb-like in tonality – while Two Ships throws out a riff that’s got the influence of Liverpool’s finest all over it.
Though it would be a fool’s errand to claim that shoegaze and psychedelia aren’t the primary reference points on Land, there are other influences at play. The semi-title track Land Gone and Again You Try Your Luck hint at an indie-pop influence, while recent single Sentences demonstrates what cult dream-pop duo Beach House might sound like if they dipped their hands in a bag of acid. There’s no need to worry about divergence from your chosen blueprint, though, when you’ve got tracks as dextrous as Phrases, or possessed of the blissed-out elegance of Younger Than Yesterday.
Though squeezing Kevin Shields’ wide-open dreaminess through the prism of 60s mind-gobbling guitar work isn’t completely out there, with Spiritualized’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space providing a blueprint for how the idea could work, Novella are largely out on their own in their willingness to adopt the approach – and in a league of one for their success in doing so.
Land end up, not so much as a vision of how shoegaze might have developed under the influence of the Fab Four, but of how it may well do so through the direction of the Rad Five.
Verdict: Psychgaze is born