By Ellen Eldridge
Atlanta-based NovaKord started up just over a year ago, but it’s no surprise the guys have a fervent following because fans who’ve followed bassist Billy Snyder and drummer Johnny Cunningham through projects including Axis of Audio and Last, which included Wes Daniel on vocals and guitar, completely understand the progressive power of the trio now known as NovaKord.
The first track, “Growing Stems” introduces the electronic quality to the band that grows dynamic with the inclusion of swooning guitars and plundering bass lines. The vocals soothe as the lyrics penetrate and pull listeners deeper inside the meaning of the song. A comparison to Radiohead or Muse would not feel out of place, but what NovaKord accomplishes transcends mere comparison and deserves recognition in its own right because these guys create a sound that can’t be too quickly compared to other bands.
The resonant lines betray the tongue-in-cheek title of “Sextagon” because the impassioned chorus lets up just long enough for the wailing guitars; this isn’t another clichéd sex-drugs-rock song, it’s a true love song calling out the hollowness of dependency. The writhing electronics mesh into the guitar riffs to complete a sense of catharsis.
The accepting feeling when track two switches into “Kaleyedoscope” reflects the stages of grief in the way that “Sextagon” touched so empathically on issues that “Kaleyedoscope” bring out as fact. The empowered vocal melodies ring out “we belong together,” and the songwriter could well be taking on a new topic with this track, but to think about the connections between the song starts one on the path to really loving NovaKord.
The opening lyric of the title track on Out There beckons listeners to “wait for the sound to get your answer,” and the sentiments carry through the tracks like a seasoned soundtrack for all those soulful musicians who can’t “keep it inside.” The chorus’ question, “Who’s out there?” can easily be answered by the fans excitedly awaiting the CD release show this Saturday at The Basement.
For those who haven’t yet heard of NovaKord or the members of the band, in 37 minutes and 41 seconds these eight songs will call to listeners’ senses and impact with both harmony and rhythm.