N0V3L occupies a sonic landscape that recalls spring-loaded post-punk dissonance, new-wave’s downcast dance anthems, and laser-precise political funk. NOVEL, their eight-track debut EP, is a fluorescent, freshly-scorched declaration of intent, a martial, brutalist slab of nimble melodics and group-yelped anti-capitalist mantras: “Time is a resource/To use and to treasure!” they cry on opener, “To Whom It May Concern.” From the numerics in their name to their black/white/red aesthetic scheme, N0V3L is a carefully-calculated machine.
Frigid, wiry guitars scramble and sprint in syncopated riffs, circling each other, sparse and chiming in their aesthetic but frenetic all the same. Percussion is at turns stern and playful, from loose, brash funk strains on “Will To Power” to airtight disco beats on “Natural.” Bass work here, with its own thumping neon flourishes, is not so much an accompaniment but an intricate piece of this web of sounds, as critical and imaginative as the leads it lurks behind. Vocals, typically sung in unison, are sneering and sharp and jagged like the provocations they carry: “Sign on the line/Devalue your time!” they jeer on “Sign On The Line.” Later, on closer “Division,” they lament and reject institutionalized oppressions: “State-endorsed bigotry/Lies from the factory!”
It feels crass to call N0V3L a band—the word feels cumbersome and bloated with traditionalist connotations. N0V3L is a self-sustaining creative collective operating out of a house in Vancouver, where they produce their own music, videos, and clothing. These elements converge and convulse to create music that challenges the gluttony and ruin wrought by power, while humming along with kaleidoscopic spontaneity into a tightly-wound audible world that is at once jarring and violently danceable. N0V3L’s debut EP is a call to a burnt-out dance floor, where the dance floor has become a space of dialogue and action and resistance. Please do enjoy.
The debut EP from N0V3L, NOVEL is available on February 15th on Flemish Eye.
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