Novo Amor
Bathing Beach


4.0
excellent

Review

by BlushfulHippocrene STAFF
May 27th, 2017 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An uncaptured eutierria in a far from hollow scene

Between some notable cues in his wistful falsetto and an undeniable penchant for crafting sparse, disentangling acoustic ballads, comparisons between Novo Amor and Bon Iver are unsurprising, and perhaps all too expected. Indeed, even in his name and presence, British indie-folk forerunner Ali Lacey’s Novo Amor evokes a foreign romanticism not unfamiliar to the music and aesthetic of Justin Vernon. Yet whilst it might seem unfair to cast Novo Amor to the shadows of a predecessor whose legend precedes him, it isn’t to discredit his work on Bathing Beach, which embodies a range of gorgeous soundscapes all its own.

As the short collection floats in and out of a sort of vivid manifestation through song, Bathing Beach (dis)appears an aural ignis fatuus. Far from formless, though nonetheless free, the four songs find themselves formed through a considered delicateness. Apt in title, ‘Anchor’ presents an impressive wispiness that is as light and gossamer as its preceding tracks, though manages to tether itself at a distance closer to the earth it romanticises. Whilst it adheres to an altogether familiar pattern – a fragile acoustic pattern births the track and nurses it towards an ethereal arrangement of dissonant strings and subtle percussion – the guitar’s echoing base notes and percussive hits, coupled with some quiet, though nonetheless urgent cymbal splashes in the song’s climax take hold and ground an otherwise ascending material. Towards the final minute of ‘Embody Me,’ Lacey yearns, “Oh, I’m in agony / Your anatomy is gone,” and the song itself appears very close to its last breath. If the discernible guitar melodies are the song’s backbone, the strings and subtle sliders its essence, then the hushed vocal performances are its lifeblood; the strings that close Bathing Beach therefore seem to lay rest to a voice whose each breath acts as its last. In this sense, the closer is perhaps the most apropos the album could have had; Novo Amor never quite maintain a distinctive form, for better or worse.

A lot of the charm of Novo Amor exists in an unwillingness to pave and follow a path of his own. Bathing Beach floats among the peripheries of its and other’s musical direction, refusing to settle. Which isn’t to argue that the album is all that adventurous either, traipsing down strange and obscure rabbit holes, but that it floats down paths, uncommitted and never quite willing to plant feet. Although Bathing Beach’s structure and progression feels logical and intended, so do dreams. And yet, whilst each song follows a familiar formula of subtle builds, unwinding passages, and unhurried climaxes, the album is often amorphous and exciting, simply lovely. Giving foundation to the album’s opener ‘Carry You,’ a coupling of finger-picked acoustic rhythms pans and intertwines. Utilising a series of hypnotic patterns, at once blissful and disorienting, as a means of lulling the listener into equal parts enchantment and confusion, Novo Amor quickly reels in the listener. It isn’t an uncommon trick, but it works in his favour, and is part of what makes Bathing Beach just so relentless. It's hard to snap out.

Each of Bathing Beach’s elements complement one another to an extreme degree. All of its elements, simple as they may be, coalesce to form an impressive ode to a place and feeling nondescript; an emotion unfelt, an uncertain and faceless illumination. On Bathing Beach, Novo Amor cups hands around sparks, and blows gently, nursing an eventual flame no less warm than faint and threatened.



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user ratings (21)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2017


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stream the album: http://open.spotify.com/album/4vGuMdwnxc6X8izbVS6MTN

Or 'Anchor': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmKAn8rNbKg

Feedback welcome, album's more of a 3.7/5. Hope you're all well.

Digging: Emily Keener - I Do Not Have To Be Good

verdant
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2017


2435 Comments


beautifully written

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2017


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Land, much love as usual.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2017


19594 Comments


Wonderful writing Blush, you got me at the Bon Iver comparisons, think I might dig this.

Digging: Jaga Jazzist - One-Armed Bandit

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2017


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you Dewi. < 3 It's all quite indiscernible, but it's very lovely. It sounds a lot like Holocene, which is one of my favourite songs ever, so it was hard for me not to love this.

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2017


6323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lovely review as always mate, and very concise given the depth of what you are saying. Sounds like my kind of thing this, will give it a go at some point

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2017


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks heaps Ben. It's grown off me a bit, but it's very, very captivating on first few listens IMO.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
September 1st 2017


18745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Holocene vibes? Man I was just looking for an excuse to check them out and there ya go! : )

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2017


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was trying so hard not to mention how much some of it sounds like Holocene, especially the first track. But obviously I caved with the pun in the summary. Let me know if you listen. (:

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2017


18745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I definitely will let you know what I think!

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2017


18745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This made for a lovely first listen, it sounded so nice but at the same time I felt like I had heard it all before... Probably between the 3.5-4.0 range for me as well

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2017


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Understandable. I wrote this review after only a few listens and was caught up in it, it's very captivating, I'd say.

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2017


6323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still one of my favourite records of the year

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2017


18745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah if anything it's growing on me, that opener is just breathtaking

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2017


18745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Let it lead your love away

I never strayed

Let it bury you away

In all your blame, in all your pain

I will carry you always

Fade me away, I won't ever be the same

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2018


25601 Comments


stalking ur reviews to make sure i commented on all of them and I seemed to have missed this one :/

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2018


3275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love you Connor.

Guys, guys, guys check the new album -- it's so derivative, but so, so beautiful: just like this!!

I misspoke. Not that derivative. Just incredible. Just so big and blanketing and nice.



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