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The Nova Hawks: Redemption

On track eight of this debut release vocalist Heather Leoni sings she’s “sick and tired of singing sad songs”. Having been on a journey through this irresistibly sultry, thumping slice of rustic blues worship entitled Redemption, one can’t help but think she’s singing this stuff because she has to: these cautionary tales need to be handed over, these squawking blues licks need to be reanimated, and that’s precisely what Leoni and guitarist Rex Roulette serve up on this assured debut. As the album fires up with a tale of perverse, twisted love in ‘Voodoo’, the swampy guitar textures never saturate the distinctly angular groove, which is a motif woven throughout the record: this pair know how to expertly inject danceability whilst retaining the longing, alienation, and humor so crucial to the blues’ authenticity. The pitch-perfect screech and wail is thrown forward in the title track, wherein Leoni sings of the futility in seeking premature absolution for one’s sins; a thoughtful spin on a familiar blues trope. A sparing Phil Spector-groove holds the foundation for ‘Dusty Heart’ featuring a dual Leoni/Whitehall vocal; the juxtaposition in tone suggesting the descent into godlessness one can experience having loved and lost beyond what one’s constitution can withstand. There’s a grim reason why Whitehall’s vocals are the final ones audible to the listener.

This is not to say that the duo spend the duration of the release in the depths of despair. ‘Witxh’ features a bubbling groove with sympathetic cymbal work, whilst the slick ‘Pills’ calls to mind the more danceable side of stoner rock à la Eagles of Death Metal or QOTSA.

‘Technicolor’ pulls open the curtain and lets the sun shine unashamedly, with prominent glowing organ and Heather’s upbeat vocal. The organ continues to circle around the folksy ‘Run Wild’; the reassuring lyric could’ve made this an affectionate number to close the record on. A muscular, off-beat strut characterises the penultimate track ‘Greed or Glory’ which sensibly shuts down before the incessant groove outstays its welcome.

Listening again to the closer ‘Love Games’, it’s easy to see why the pair opted to close the record on this track: it’s a gorgeous, cleansing march towards hope and forgiveness featuring a charming, cavernous thud of percussion that calls to mind McCartney’s debut homespun release. The sincerity of Leoni’s vocal combined with the nylon pierce of Whitehall’s guitar make this an engaging and surprisingly joyous take on the blues.

Heather Leoni and Rex Roulette

3.Dusty Heart
7.Run Wild
8.Locked Inside
9.Greed Or Glory
10.Love Games (Tuesday's Blues)

Added: January 27th 2021
Reviewer: Martin Delaney
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 914
Language: english

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