Novacrow – Black Syrup EP + Criminal Mastermind EP
Black Syrup – Self Released 12-03-2016
Criminal Mastermind – Self Released 16-11-2018
Running Time Black Syrup: 19:45
Running Time Criminal Mastermind: 17:40
Review by Beth Jones
Novacrow are a young band that first popped onto our radar at RockWich this year. We bought their first EP “Black Syrup” then, and I had intentions of doing a review for it, but time has run away with me yet again. So now, with the release of their second EP “Criminal Mastermind” I am going to give you two reviews for the price of one! Think of it as a Christmas special!
Hailing from Liverpool, Novacrow are a fourpiece of young and vibrant musicians with a zany sense of humour, and this is purveyed perfectly by their music. They have a bit of a horror vibe going on, but a healthy dose of on-stage craziness and over the top facial expressions really brings out their sense of fun and makes them compelling to watch. If ACME did Alice Cooper, this is what it would look like! Musically they have a great sleazy, heavy rock sound, with catchy melodies that are easy to sing along to.
The first EP “Black Syrup” is a really good offering as a first release. It has some great, funky bass lines, provided by Federico “Freddy” Spera, with Valerio Pompili providing good, solid rhythms on drums, and grungy, sludgy guitar from Jonyx. This is all rounded off nicely by the powerful vocals and additional guitar of Kitty Staunton, with her vocals set high in the mix, cutting above everything else with clarity and precision.
The EP is five tracks in all, but my favourite is ‘Fight The Horde’, because it has lots of distinct sections, a racing pace, and some great guitar riffs and solo work. The backing vocals provided by Jonyx and Freddy also cut through brilliantly and make the song feel really full. It is a great track to bang your head to and makes you want to move!
I also want to mention ‘Colourless’. This is only a short track but is beautiful in a melancholy sort of way. It is an instrumental piece with classic style guitar and bass, and minimal percussion. In real contrast to the other tracks, it creates an ethereal and haunting end to the release.
Fast forward two years and the newly released EP “Criminal Mastermind”. It is still the same old madcap craziness that makes it Novacrow, but you can tell that it is two years further down the line. The production is more thought out and the songs are even more creative.
The guys have ventured a lot further into their backing vocal roll on the first track, ‘Fever Swamp’, which really adds an extra layer to the sound. It is a good punchy track and a great way to kick off the EP.
It all gets a little darker with the second track, ‘Laughing Gas’, which has a much more sinister feel to it. Kitty’s vocals soar high, in an almost wailing banshee style, which gives you a slightly unnerved feeling! It is in complete contrast to the very funny third track ‘Criminal Mastermind’ (if you haven’t seen the video for this, it is a must watch for comedy genius value).
The final two tracks on the EP are again quite dark and twisted, bringing a psychotic air to the proceedings. The final track, ‘Are You Happy’ is my favourite track because it is so dark! In a minor key, and 3/4-time signature, giving it the feel of some sort of freaks waltz. Combined with an odd, funfair style wind organ drone in the background, and strange music-box like twinkly bells, it combines many things that would be the stuff of nightmares. It is brilliantly clever. Kitty’s vocals are, as ever, impeccable as well. Love it!
You may be wondering why I have only scored them a 7/10 collectively for both EPs – well I figure that, whilst these two are great, they still have more to give. I, for one, cannot wait to see how they move on now, and what new weird and wonderful creations come out of the Novacrow mad science lab! Seriously for fans of zany theatrical rock, these really are the band for you to keep a very close eye on.
01. Fat Frog
02. Fight The Horde
03. Black Syrup
04. Set In Stone
01. Fever Swamp
02. Laughing Gas
03. Criminal Mastermind
04. Lab Rat
05. Are You Happy?
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.