Did I tell you that you, as a reviewerI sometimes receive a beautiful gem? Well, here it is. We are talking about the third EP of the Dutch band Novatia, called Flow. The term Flow fits perfectly with what you hear in the music and lyrics. In one or other way Background Magazine did not notice this band before, and that is a pity, however, it is what it is. Now we notice! They made the EPs Remind You Of Yourself in 2015 and Reflection Of Thoughts in 2016.
The band consists of Ingmar Kops (synth and piano), Joep Selen (vocals), Joost Lobbes (drums), Fabian van Dijk (bass) and Rindert Bul (electric and acoustic guitars). At the time of writing this review Fabian did leave the band and is replaced yet by Reg Schüchner.
In the delivered info the band describes their music as a mix of pop, rock, jazz, funk and progressive rock. I can totally agree with this. On the one hand the music does not sound too complicated, on the other hand, if you listen further and deeper, it is indeed well and thoughtfully put together. This also applies to the lyrics. Every song has an own theme and makes you think. This reviewer loves that.
In view of the various musical styles that the band uses, it could just be that they can speak to a wider audience. On the other hand, because of the diversity of styles, people could just drop out because of the lack of coherence.
About the music, because that is what it is all about. The EP starts with the song The Night Is Filled With Colours. This track is based on the painting 'Terrace Of A Cafe At Night' made by Vincent van Gogh. The band wrote this song for a contest, which they did not win, unfortunately. It has a quiet intro. Halfway it has an intermezzo on bass guitar after which a ripping, deep guitar solo is played by Rindert that carries you. It is beautiful that this solo has two reprises. Personally I think that the music is a good translation from what we can see at the painting. The lovely vocals of Joep stand out.
The second song, Between The Lines, is the longest and most proggy track of the EP. It deals with making choices. Do you chose active and positive, or passive and negative? The keys of Ingmar starts in a 80s style. The drums enter, a contagious guitar reef is strumming. A beautiful guitar solo follows, followed by another one that is played together with a keyboard solo. The song builds up, it is more up tempo. A fantastic solo on the keyboards is what follows, great! On the background Fabian lets us hear he can play his bass very well. Halfway the track stops to be continued by a guitar chord. Now all the lights get out, the spotlights go on and are in its totality at Rindert because there is a really sensitive, beautiful guitar solo. The tears roll down your cheeks. Choose for yourself and be or become positive is what this solo tells you. What a fantastic song.
May We Interrupt is the next song and is based on an experience the band had. They were playing at a festival. It seemed nobody was listening. The band decided not to play the planned songs but began jamming, what was a real pleasure for them. The song feels like the jam mentioned before. My thoughts were: how simple can it be to write a song that fits with this minimalistic design. Good work.
This Drive follows. It starts with some drumming and a small guitar tune. The keys fill the space. The beautiful guitar solo expresses the following for me: focus on your heart, do not be confused by your thinking. A full keyboard solo passes after which the bass takes the lead and enters into a duet with the guitar. Also the horn arrives followed by a solo in which all instruments take part. This will push this song to great heights.
It is with great regret to tell you that the final song arrives, Before Autumn Comes. It deals with the theme: do you extend your summer so that autumn is shorter, or the other way around? Do you grab your chance or are you heading to your depression? It is a more quiet song in which the lyrics of Joep are important, and of course his fantastic vocals. The sounds and the solo of the keyboards carry you, they let you float. Even an acoustic guitar solo of Rindert belongs to the song. This song grabs you.
And then the EP is finished and you remain stunned. You would want another 5 songs to come, but hey, the cake is finished. Thank God there is, of course, a repeat button. After listening to the EP a lot of times, I ordered the first two EPs via the website of the band so that I can listen to more of the beautiful music of this band. I am curious, I did not receive them whilst writing this review, unfortunately.
Do yourself a favour, get out of your comfort zone, go to their website and give yourself a present with this beautiful EP. I cannot wait for new material of this band.
**** Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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