The gurus in the Sunset Alliance camp are geniuses. They have gathered together
a fantastic roster of bands, and Sunset Alliance itself is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels. It's just all so good!
The latest Sunset Alliance band that I have the pleasure of reviewing is a little band by the name of Novi Split.
When I say 'little' band, I mean 'little'. This acoustic-driven
album doesn't even credit the players to what instruments they played. The liner notes do state, however, that this album
was "recorded in the bedrooms of loved ones over the last three years". Even though it took so long, over half of these tracks
are under two minutes and thirty seconds long. What do these things have in common? They all serve to show that there is virtually
no fanfare surrounding this album.
But the music feels like it should on an album with no
fanfare: humble, inviting, and not hyped. Some 'small' releases like these suffer
from being too small; they only make sense to the people writing them as a labor of love. Not Novi Split. This acoustic driven folk/pop
connects subtly but instantly. Songs such as "Glory! Glory!" are so understated that the confessional lyrics and soft-spoken
vocal delivery create the illusion that you are actually having a conversation with the lyricist. It's the epitome
With the exception of three rock songs and one country
ballad, every song here is written in a sparse, haunting down-tempo pop/folk style. As a result, this album is one large emotional
sock to the gut. "The New Split" incorporates atmospheric synthesizer, beautiful piano, a xylophone, and heartbreaking harmonies
into a beautiful piece about healing from a break-up. This song will go on the every emo kid's 'Beautiful Depressing' playlist.
I know it's on mine.
Best Feature: These beautiful songs connect with you.
Genre: Acoustic downtempo pop/folk
The closest thing that Novi Split has to a radio single
would be "Tonight! Tonight!", a nearly 3-minute pop exclamation point that combines catchy melodies with Novi Split's characteristic
honesty and inclusiveness. It reminded me of Sixpence None the Richer, only with male vocals and less annoying bounce to the
This album is a spectacular acoustic album. It has the
diversity that so many acoustic acts lack, and it gives us the first taste of some spectacular songwriters. I hope their next
album doesn't take 3 years to record, as I may have withdrawals. Elliot Smith is gone, but Novi Split has skillfully taken
his place as the new "great acoustic hope", returning honesty, passion, and skillful songwriting to the acoustic guitar.