It's so rare to hear an album that feels like it was crafted as a single piece of art. There’s so much focus these days on streaming and single releases that all too often the idea of producing an album as a unit takes a back seat.
Not so with Novo Amor’s ‘Birthplace’. This is the soundtrack to a film that has yet to be written. A beautiful soundscape of warmth and depth offset with a just pinch of sadness. It’s a record like a cosy sofa on a rainy day. Romanticism aside, the record has rare continuity and flow with the early songs feeling more urgent and hopeful and the later songs shifting towards subdued resignation and reflection. You can't help but wonder how much of this record is biographical and how far the songs mirror Amor’s own life experiences.
The instrumentation is excellent and the alternating dominance of guitar and piano with a backdrop of string instruments, percussion, brass and much more gives this a variance very cleverly used as it breaks the album up in all the right places, compensating for the vocals lacking a bit in range or adventurousness. While it’s absolutely an album to listen to right through, there are stand-out songs.
The title track ‘Birthplace’ is an absolute standout - beautifully arranged and a pleasure to listen to. On the other side, there are a few sections where good ideas seem unfinished such as ‘State Lines’ which builds up… and then goes nowhere.
In some ways the fact that so much effort has gone into production and arrangement takes away from the emotiveness of Novo Amor’s first solo release just a little and maybe it would have been better a bit more spontaneous, but there are moments of true beauty that are a delight to experience. Experience them.
Words: Damian Russell
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