THE NOVEMBERS – Elegance

review - 14.10.2015 01:01

Elegance is a soft, dreamy EP with a raw edge, a typical THE NOVEMBERS sound.

On October 7th, THE NOVEMBERS released their newest EP Elegance. It’s the second release after the Rhapsody in Beauty album that embraced noise with delicate sounds and enhanced a new sound that fits and adds to the repertoire of THE NOVEMBERS. Elegance builds on the previous albums Rhapsody in Beauty and zeitgeist, the six songs on this EP containing elements from both releases.

THE NOVEMBERS are an alternative rock-shoegaze band and have been in the scene for about ten years now. Their sound differs between heavy alternative rock sounds and sweet dreamy pop rock tunes with a tinge of heaviness in it. And THE NOVEMBERS’s do what they do best on this EP, mixing dreamlike sounds with a heavy twist, but this never gets boring or old. They keep developing their sound, pulling and pushing between styles and sounds that are mostly familiar to them.

The EP builds up from pop rock tracks at the start and end with a gritty song that has remains from the noise Rhapsody in Beauty consisted of. Clara starts off with a high guitar melody, a curious sound that catches attention. Overall the song is soft and calm and doesn’t build up to have a climax. It creates a chill tune that still is interesting to listen to because of the musical layers that they have built in the song. The end feels like the song is being played on vinyl, adding to the atmosphere of the first song.

The second track Kokoro hitotsu starts out with a drum rhythm, soon to be followed with guitars that create a smooth combination of high and low melodies. Kobayashi sings in a high range, even falsetto at some point during the song, giving it an airy atmosphere. The refrain carries a more rock sound, though keeping that light feeling to it because of the vocals.

The bass sound is quite distinct at the start of Kirei na umi he. The guitar and bass switch, giving each other space to be heard individually, but sometimes let themselves be drowned in the layering of the sounds. The song plays out as a story and carries the same atmosphere as the previous songs but has a slightly more powerful body because of the tempo and the clear bass line.

Hadaka no minku again slows down the pace, and introduces the vinyl sounds again. Scratching is heard during the song, giving the song a vintage feel. The song breaks with the melody and switches to drums for the main sound instead of the guitar when the vocalist sings the English lyrics “I scream and you scream, we all scream for ice-cream” in a mellow voice. All instruments get their moment to shine, with a side effect that allows the listener to hear the exposed layers separately. THE NOVEMBERS still keep the song easy to listen to, even though the way how to changes multiple times during the song.

The fifth track Emerald has Kobayashi singing in the higher ranges again, with a repetitive guitar line during the intro and chorus. Again, they manage to give a twist to the guitar sound to make it interesting but still easy to listen to. Like the previous songs, it has a chill and smooth sound but doesn’t forget the rock roots they have completely. It’s subtle but it’s there.

For the fans who were waiting for that alternative rock sound, this song is for you. Deru kizu wo sagasu chi could be on their previous album, Rhapsody in beauty, the heavy bass and distinct drum with a distorted guitar leading the song to chaos. The use of silence is played well. The listener has a few beats to think before being pulled right back in, starting over, continuing the story but now being pulled into the song that builds up to a breaking point where all is distorted and the singer is screaming out the lyrics before it suddenly stops, finishing the EP with a bang, adding silence to it.

Overall, the EP has a combination of their light and dark side, even though the softer and lighter songs are the majority on Elegance. It’s a typical sound for the band and they keep developing their sound to perfect it. Because Elegance carries such a soft sound, it’s more recommended for the lovers of this side of THE NOVEMBERS than the audience who likes mostly their darker side.

THE NOVEMBERS will be touring in Japan from November 2nd, so if you’re around you can get a taste of the live version of the songs too.

Here are the two versions of Kirei na umi he:




Fifth track of the EP: Emerald


Elegance is available for purchase via CDJapan at http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/aff/click.cgi/8U21aEwn3lw/199/A330929/product/MERZ-44.
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