Novy Zembler - Upstairs

4 songs
17:33 minutes
***** **


I have known Rick Senley as the man behind experimental electronic / ambient projects I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan and Musicforvoyeurs, but lockdown made him reconnect with his old friend Drew Campbell from back in the nineties, and together they decided to create a long-distance duo called Novy Zembler whose first four track EP Upstairs has just been released as a digital album.

Unlike his solo material, Novy Zembler is actually less experimental. The two musicians have been sending guitar, bass, drums parts and samples to each other over the internet, trying to capture the sound of nineties English alternative rock music that more than once made me think of the Trainspotting soundtrack. Bands like The Cure, Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division are named as inspirations, and it makes sense. The four instrumental tracks cover a wide array of moods. The opener November is a dreamy track with broad electric guitars. Altro is an upbeat power pop song that really manages to lift your mood. The title track Upstairs is at six minutes the EPís longest track and starts in an atmospheric way not unlike Pink Floyd before its second half adds a drum beat, synthesizers and female choirs that transport the song into higher elevations. The EP ends with Silverhum, another melancholic entry into the duoís canon.

My final verdict is quite positive. The four songs are promising, and one can only hope that this duo will continue working together in the future. Sure, the drums sound a little thin here and there, but maybe thatís just how they sounded back in the nineties. Also the songs could take advantage from added vocals. Especially Altro begs to be a future alt rock hit. For now letís give this album seven out of ten and hope that more good stuff will be coming later.

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