Coming to Ali Lacey, aka Novo Amor, and his new album free from any preconceptions is a liberating experience. Although the Welshman has been producing music for several years, Birthplace seems to be a singular moment in his young career.
The album is a gorgeously cinematic experience and songs like buoyant opener ‘Emigrate’ are presented in a rich, widescreen format that immerses the listener in a cocoon of gentle textures. Tempestuous flashes occasionally disturb these wonderfully warm embraces and appear unexpectedly towards the conclusion of the swirling ‘Anniversary’ for example.
There are certainly comparisons to be made. The rapturous falsetto immediately brings to mind Bon Iver and the cinematic breadth and scale of the record’s songs seem to be evoking the enigmatic soundscapes of Sigur Ros and Hans Zimmer. Fortunately, there is enough of Lacey’s personality in the productions to ensure these associations never intrude on the powerful impact which the record has. Much of this is down to the coalescence of sounds Lacey introduces. ‘Repeat Until Death’ is a case in point; the fragility of his vocals is matched by heart-breaking strings and tender keys but this is also complemented by delicate slide guitar and a subtle acoustic melody and it’s this satisfyingly complex fabric of Lacey’s songs which make the experience such an engrossing one. Horns, hand claps and everything in-between contribute to the mostly upbeat tones but it isn’t epic in design, instead providing intimate and unpredictable joys. Songs last only three or four minutes before shifting imperceptibly to the next plane in this soundtrack to Lacey’s life.
If you experienced the stunning video for the album’s title track then you’ll understand why this is a record that you can dive into, soaking in its luxurious textures before emerging, cleansed of the impurities of this world.
BIRTHPLACE BY NOVO AMOR IS OUT NOW.