The Nova Echo‘s new EP, Voyager starts off at jog with a futuristic synth melody on “Harps” and launches into a full-on gallop by the nine-second mark. Not that this is a bad thing. Anyone who’s seen a Nova Echo show knows the band packs a Jolt Cola punch (okay, maybe Red Bull: Probably none of Nova Echo’s members were even born when Jolt came out).
The track “Vesper” actually borrows, thematically from the worship service for which it’s named — at least in the lead notes which resemble a time-lapse harpsichord concert. The song quickly opens into a pulsing pop song kicked off by the lyric, “Tonight, I’ll take you anywhere.” Vespers, FYI, are evening prayers and the Nova Echo has always had a knack for following through with themes.
Like the band’s previous album, the hooky-contageous self-titled CD that they dropped last year at Stella Blue (read about that show here), Voyager returns, over and over, to images of space, night and love, with lush electronic compositions, pulse-racing beats and dreamy lyrics that wash over the listener in cool waves.
There’s not a weak track on the five-song Voyager, but middle track “Titan” is a standout with many of the qualities that make the band’s previous single, “Satellite-A1” so good. Vocalist/guitarist Caleb Hanks’ voice is soft and clear on the verse and bursts into the stratosphere on the chorus. The song is all lithe hits of falsetto, romantic urgency, sparkle and shimmer. (Listen to it below.)
Hanks is the ideal front man, willowy and blond, his voice dripping vocoder (not that he needs it) like a poet-automaton. The rest of the band — Evan Bradford on guitar andsynth, Will Arledge on guitar, Matt Hixon on bass, Lee Brooks on keys and Jeremy London on drums — all rise to Hanks’ level of showmanship. The Nova Echo is seamless, immaculately rehearsed and professional. That said, the band seems completely at home both on stage in in the studio (if Voyager‘s easy charm is anything to go by). And Xpress is not the only one who’s noticed — rumor has it some exciting things are in the works for the Nova Echo. Can’t say just what, but watch for an announcement coming from the band later this year.
In the meantime, download Voyager here. As the website says, “The EP is free, but if you like what you hear, feel free to donate.”