There’s always something to be said about artists that have a sound that’s hard to place, and that concept can lend itself to two polar paths; a dizzying and potentially confusing mixture of influence, or a boundary-pushing sound that’s undeniably their own. Birmingham-based four-piece The Novus masterfully fit into the latter with their resplendent debut offering, Thaleia Standing.
Comprised of lifelong friends Connor Hill, Thomas Rhodes, Tyla Challenger and Euan Woodman, their adolescence of collectively making music and subsequently moving in together has created somewhat of a hive-mind mentality, allowing them to blend a kaleidoscopic array of styles into their gritty, yet otherwise hard to define sound.
Flavours of 70s psychedelia, 80s rock, punk, contemporary post-punk and alternative rock anthemia all have their say on this heady twenty-minute affair, as well as much more that would make the list exhaustive.
Embarking with the “I Serve Not,” an attention-commanding knock cleanses your palate for the ensuing foray, and as soon as the first bone-rattling bass note hits, the swaggering bite of the project is established. Tense guitars build the anticipation, one that only builds once the brooding vocal lays a simply put yet poetic and miring lyrical narrative on modern life. The chorus sees them take flight into a stadium-ready soar, utilising that same ominous knock to seamlessly transfer between the opposing intensities.
Granted in differing ways, that lyrical focus is echoed throughout the EP, as scathing as it may come across, it performs akin to a call to arms for change in both the lives we lead and the world we live in and is justly delivered with raucous force.
“Hate Is The Cancer” keeps the adrenaline high, with a thundering rhythm that recalls the likes of Dead Kennedys, galloping through to a shift towards post-punk. Drums and bass sustain for a more spoken word vocal that perpetuates the aforementioned poetic aspect, achieving a tone closer to a theatric monologue than a song’s verse. Undulating between authentic punk and post-punk, the chorus gears back into punk with a chanted, almost protest-like call out.
Weaving through genres with affable ease, “Overdriven” sees some of the colossal alt-rock tones of “I Serve Not” return, with its slick and addictive riffs projecting the brazen vocal into the stratosphere, whilst the steadfast drums set a hooking, head-nodding rhythm.
Commencing with a touch of psychedelic flair, “Castaway” shifts the gears of Thaleia Standing once again without forfeiting an ounce of focus. Just as you become accustomed to the eponymously oceans-deep atmosphere, the first chorus sweeps in like a freight train at almost a third of the way through the track and just soon as it arrives, it speeds past, dissolving back into the intoxicating verse.
The title of the concluding track, “Journey (With No End),” might imply that it will bring the energy back down for a slower paced conclusion, but the truth is far from it. It ends with the same force that it began, with an epic accapella intro that sets you on the edge of your seat as to where it’ll take you. Flickering between sonically suave, yet wholly contemplative verses and driving choruses, Thaleia Standing concludes with five hits and no misses.
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