Children Of Nova

Impossible Landscape

Written by: TL on 22/04/2012 21:37:57

Children Of Nova - in case you haven't heard of them - are a prog/experimental rock quintet from San Diego, and personally I first became aware of them when their heavily Mars Volta-inspired 2009 EP "The Complexity Of Light" was recommended to me little over two years ago. Since then, the band has been working towards the release of a studio LP which is now upon us, and on it - the album which bears the title "Impossible Landscape" and has brilliant cover art by the way - Children Of Nova seemingly aim to step up and make a place for themselves in the scenery next to bands like the aforentioned The Mars Volta, and other modern prog rockers such as Muse Tides Of Man and Closure In Moscow.

And if it was merely a question of technical ability, "Impossible Landscape" soon proves that Children Of Nova should be very close to realising such an ambition. The dual guitars wail and rear and race through numerous inventive and forceful compositions while the drums and bass - although mainly staying at medium tempo - explore a rich variety of rhythmical patterns in the background. Front and centre, singer 'Teo' sounds as Cedric Bixler-ish (Mars Volta) as always, although now with an added tendency to lean into melodies that are quite Matt Bellamy-esque (Muse), which is especially audible in tracks such as "Moments Of Clarity".

Furthermore "Impossible Landscape" is also a record that comes at you sounding remarkably well produced for a band's first, self-released studio LP and the producers the band have worked with - Kris Crummet and Stephan Hawkes - must be given credit for having helped Children Of Nova sound as good at possible at what they do. Yet, if there's one crucial flaw to be found in this release, it seems to me that it is that the production, as crisp as it is, isn't very multi-facetted. While the album offers a flurry of intricate melodies coming from both singer and instruments, it gradually feels more and more like they're being played and sung with the a rather narrow variety of tones or effects.

Now I am not a studio magician myself, so I cannot verify this with much authority myself, but this is the explanation I have to offer for why the album, despite its plentiful complexity, sounds a bit hit and miss to begin with, and a bit monotonous over time. There are cool moments scattered about songs like the title track, "Feel Alive" and closer "It's Just A Ride" for instance, yet while I find many of the catchier parts during some of the album's mellower stretches, I find myself paradoxically wishing that the band would let loose a little more, like they do in "It's Just A Ride" or in the "Knights Of Cydonia"-ish opening to "First Signs", because these are frankly the times when the band seems the most powerful. Things being the way they are however, I regret to reveal that I consider "Impossible Landscape" a record of more promise and potential than of power and consistency.


Download: Impossible Landscape, Feel Alive, The Graceful Tragedy, It's Just A Ride
For The Fans Of: Muse, The Mars Volta, Tides Of Man, Closure In Moscow, Wolfmother

Release Date 13.03.2012

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