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EP Review: Novacrow - Criminal Mastermind

They are one of the most exciting bands to listen to and watch live. A band that I always love to talk about. Novacrow is a band that really encapsulates the idea of having fun with your art form. The Liverpool rockers return with their new EP, Criminal Mastermind and it's another diverse collection of bangers that will get you rocking out. They are just one of those bands that can brighten up your day in an instant with their character and energy. Their songs are a good mix of genuine hard rock with outlandish and punchy lyrics. They just have that style that keeps you engrossed and entertained and their charisma just shines through on every track. 

The opener of "Fever Swamp" is this big bombastic tune that immediately grabs your attention. The heavy riff and big bass-filled tunes, really sound great as they take their clear love of alternative metal and put their own spin on it. Everything about the songwriting is great as they are clearly having fun making these songs. My favourites being "Lab Rat" and the title track "Criminal Mastermind" from a writing perspective. It's so clear they love making up characters and telling stories through the medium of music. Interweaving great use of descriptive language and creative poetry make the songs really interesting to listen to. Also the vocalist, Kitty Staunton has so much presence and personality in her voice. Her inflexions sell the lyrics, as her vocal delivery melds with the hard rock music blasting away. 

The production could be better. However, it's not awful. Certain songs sound cleaner and sharper than other tracks. As a result, the EP feels a little inconsistent, at least to my ear. Having listened to it via good speakers, in the car and through headphones this was a problem I constantly had. Like I said though, it's not terrible. The songs are still very audible and you can hear every instrument well. I just feel like the production is a little flat here and there, and the sound could pop a little more. For an example, "Lab Rat" sounds a lot better than "Are You Happy?" or "Laughing Gas". It sounds much more of a polished and well-defined sound. Maybe a little more polish here and there would make things sound less cluttered and more balanced. 

In saying that, I am in firm belief that good song-writing can overcome anything in music. Also, I'm sure that these songs sound much better in a live environment. When you're a band that is as wild and as intense as Novacrow, it can be difficult to fully represent that in the recording process. So the only way to get a true idea of how these songs should sound, perhaps a live setting would be better. I am definitely enjoying the new EP. Once again they have made a fun, engaging collection of tunes that really show off their style and charisma. What I am recommending is getting yourself to one of their shows as their music is so much more enjoyable in that setting, in my opinion at least.


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