Saturday 15 September 2018

EP Review: NOVACROW - Criminal Mastermind

Novacrow - Criminal Mastermind

01. Fever Swamp
02. Laughing Gas
03. Criminal Mastermind
04. Lab Rat
05. Are You Happy?

I've seen Novacrow live a few times now, and they're certainly one of the best bands on the UK's underground scene. I've had their debut EP since playing a show with them almost two years ago, so I've been very interested to hear where they go next. 

Opener Fever Swamp has a distinct Southern Rock vibe with a heavy Blues groove. The chorus brings in some dark doubled-up vocals, giving the song an Alice In Chains feel.

Laughing Gas follows in a similar musical direction, but this time we get some more aggression in the vocals, making this one of the more savage tracks in Novacrow's repertoire.

The title track is a fun tune about a heist. It's catchy and more upbeat than the first two songs, with its fat heavy groove which sounds to my ears like a mix of Seventies' ZZ Top and Load-era Metallica. Criminal Mastermind is full of character and is an obvious lead single.

Lab Rat is my personal favourite track on the EP. I wouldn't say that it has the instant appeal of Criminal Mastermind, but it's an infectious number nonetheless. It's a great stomping Rock track with some really cool harmonics and a sneering chorus that demonstrates a subtle Punk influence.

The EP closes with Are You Happy?, which, for the most part, is a slow, melancholic song which instantly reminded me of Alice Cooper's Ballad Of Dwight Fry, mainly in terms of atmosphere. As theatrical as it is cynical, it works as an ideal track to close the EP.

Overall, Criminal Mastermind is a marked improvement on its predecessor in terms of both song writing and production. Existing fans will no doubt love it, and it's certainly strong enough to win them plenty more.


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