So which member of N0V3L has harnessed the power of time travel? This debut full length from the Vancouver-based group, offshoot of the heralded Crack Cloud collective, is a near-perfect facsimile of some British post-punk gem recorded in, say, 1981 that any budding crate-digger might unearth from their dad’s dust-smitten record collection. While the mere mention of that much over-wrought term ‘post-punk’ might signal red flags for some, it’s nonetheless a term that neatly encapsulates the vintage subtleties of N0V3L’s sound. It’s a testament to how inextricably fucked the world continuously seems to be, that those quintessential post-punk themes of urban paranoia, individual disempowerment, and mass-media manipulation so unwaveringly touted on ‘Non-Fiction’ still feel so fiendishly relevant. The funereal, chorus-soaked bass-lines, razor-at-the-throat guitar turns, and febrile grooves, slinky and sinister like spiders’ webs, resemble the Cure’s goth trilogy, Gang of Four, and Josef K in one grisly retro-bound package. While their relentlessly lumbering portraits of post-industrial dystopias can be exhausting at times, there are several moments of twisted beauty to cherish here. The hypnotic ‘Notice of Foreclosure’ elegantly strings the listener into a despairing void, while the suspenseful psycho jazz-punk of ‘Violent and Paranoid’ proffers a refreshing slice of modernity within a record so indebted to the past.
As featured in the May 2021 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.