NEØV - 'Dominique'
I’m normally far too balanced for my own good. I’m quite happy to accept that not everyone will like the stuff i like. Take Team Me for example, great little album in my view, but as I wrote at the time, I understand totally why it may not appeal to everyone. I find it more difficult, however, to be so balanced when I write about the new NEØV Album, Dominique. I don’t ask a lot personally of the wider world in general, but I do ask them to back up my view that ‘Dominique’ is a very fine album, worthy of everyones attention.
Finnish 5 piece NEØV write melodic noise pop, shimmering shoegaze with real tunes. Theres some brilliant influences in there, from the Cocteau Twins to the Smashing Pumpkins. And whilst quoting comparisons can often be a negative, I have no qualms in doing so with NEØV, their distinctive music has both an identity and character to it which sets them apart from anyone who has gone before.
We start with ‘Aurora’ and a great Teenage Fanclub style opening, and the first thing to note is that NEØV just have a great sound, its dreamy pop yes, but with an edge - horns add to the mix when needed, and along with the drums, play out different rhythms that make It surprising and inventive. I often have a problem with whistling in songs, but NEØV pull it off in ‘Laketown’, a pre-album single release, which opens out into a simply delicious and slightly anthemic chorus.
‘Woolen Pumpkin Shirt’ has a simple vocal melody, but the track is made by the rhythms and intensity of drums and assorted instruments, But my early favourite track is ‘The Rain People’, I guess it’s the most ‘shoegazing’ influenced, guitar driven, but with a big chorus and a chord change that sends the song in a different direction – it s a damn good song. ‘Clouds on the Wall’ builds from a simple start with an intensity that makes it fairly absorbing. The album ends with ‘Bengal Fires’, a lovely vocal melody accompanied by drums, with sleepy horns and a dreamy conclusion.
The true test of any really good album is whether we’re all still listening to it in 6 months time, and this is early days for an album, as well as this being a relatively ‘early’ review for us to throw out there. But this has stamp of real quality, well constructed songs, with enough contrasts of darkness and light, to keep it interesting. The additional instruments, horns in particular are used sparingly but effectively, rhythms shift and evolve, and it has enough ‘single’ release songs to give it wide appeal.
Its not often i feel i can give such an instant 'thumbs up' to a new release, i take days considering and thinking about how an album sounds and feels, but NEØV have struck a big chord with Dominique, and I am confident that this will age well. This is a highly recommended release to get your hands on.
Nordic Music Review 9/10