We’ve known of Novacrow for some time – Band of the Day back in 2013, their debut EP in 2016 and finally seeing them live earlier this year. They’re a lovely bunch and write some cracking tunes, so I was quick to grab Criminal Mastermind when it dropped into our mailbox.
I wasn’t disappointed. Five tracks of good, middle-of-the-road rock with an edge of the “southern rock” about them. Kitty’s vocals are of course at the forefront, and her range across the EP is the best I’ve heard from her. “Laughing Gas” in particular has her going from rock harmonics to impassioned screams with ease, bringing more than just singing into the mix.
Talking of the mix, they’ve nailed it. Backing vocals are spot on throughout, and Federico’s bass really gets a chance to chunder in the background without being completely lost behind Jonyx’s guitar and Valerio’s pounding beats. Add to this the band’s improved songwriting (and this is some surprise, given how good Black Syrup was), and you have a wonderful listen for a few quid.
Title track “Criminal Mastermind”, with a hint of the Marilyn Mansons about it, should have crowd bouncing to its incredibly catchy, sweary chorus. “Fever Swamp” is lovely and grungy, though “Lab Rat” goes for the more toe-tapping rhythms. The EP is rounded off by the rather quirky “Are You Happy” which begins like something from a creepy horror film (featuring clowns), but builds into a bit more of a rocker before leaving us with chills and the worrying smell of clown makeup.
It’s a great EP from an independent band who genuinely deserve your support. Well worth your time and money.
Criminal Mastermind is out now