Nova Social's Techno-Pop With a Splash of Wry
Soriano (electric and acoustic guitars/synths/sampling/programming) and his musical partner David Nagler (vocals/multiple instruments) are both music biz veterans with a wide range of recording, producing and arranging credits you can find searching online. Nagler plays in John Wesley Harding and did some arranging for the Mekons' Jon Langford, among many other credits and projects.
The steady beats and jittery synth backdrop are Techno harkening back to the 1980s and the more interesting groups working in that genre like Depeche Mode. Nagler's vocals have a dark and forbidding quality, amplified by the ominous choral backdrops but the thoughtful, introspective and well-conceived lyrics are often wry and wink-of-the eye and the melodies all inviting.
One song, "Martin" enters creepy Gary Wilson territory and we like Gary Wilson (you can read reviews and an interview if you search the site). It's got a line about "give me your fist" that you can take as a punch but sounds more like a love song if you know what I mean.
There are songs of hope and some of darkness and despair as well as one wry remembrance of a Miami Beach chance encounter fling called "The Delano" that will resonate with anyone who's had one (I stayed in The Delano as a kid and nothing like what is suggested in the song happened to me, but the tune brought back a magic week in Maui I had after a chance encounter in the hotel lobby upon my arrival!).
The song and actually the entire album attitudinally and lyrically reminded me of Fountains of Wayne gone Techno and in my book that's paying a strong compliment. The lyrics to "A Boxer's Wedding" have all of the depth of character and attention to detail of FOW's "All Kinds of Time" and singer Nagler maintains the ironic detachment of FOW's vocalist Chris Collingwood. That too is a great compliment in my book.
The lyrics and singing form the core of the attractiveness of this album but the intricate arrangements that includes a real string section and the excellent playing and background singing from a cast of a few dozen others also add interest as does the first rate production and recording.
Soriano says "it was recorded digitally but lovingly at various studios around NYC" most notably by Godfrey Diamond who was responsible for a great deal of "classic-era dance stuff." The album was mixed through a vintage MCI 416 console at Isokon in Woodstock and mastered for both vinyl and digital by Fred Kevorkian Mastering/Avatar (a name well-known to audiophiles!).
The vinyl was cut DMM at GZ in the Czech Republic and pressed on colored vinyl because Soriano admits to being "...a bit of a colored vinyl fetishist." And of course all vinyl is colored...usually black. So sonics are not diminished.
Soriano says "While it's pretty clearly synth pop, I think our love of Rundgren and Fripp and Scott Walker and '70s soft rock and tons of noisy post-rock, etc. comes through as much (as do) our obvious electronic influences."
They do! This is well recorded smart Techno Pop, well- pressed too and the packaging with full color glossy heavy stock insert indicates these guys went all out to produce a deluxe package.
I really like this record. It's smart, sounds good and has lyrics that leave a mark—if not a fist! No apologies necessary For Any Inconvenience