Review: The Swell Fellas ‘Novaturia’

There is just something that’s so… well, right about a great three-piece. The ability of three individuals to deliver an overwhelming barrage of audio passion is characteristic of some of the greatest acts in rock, punk, metal, and beyond. In recent years I feel as though stoner and doom has allowed for a greater fertile ground where modern power trios can flourish.

The Swell Fellas 'Novaturia' EP

Nashville-based act The Swell Fellas comfortably rub shoulders with their local neighbors All The Witches, King Buffalo and Dead Meadow. They bring a very moody and moving blend of different psychedelic-heavy approaches, with a decent amount of UK post-punk and indie influence to boot. Novaturia is their latest offering following EP and single releases in 2020, and it’s clear they have honed their craft in that time.

Something There… very much feels like a cryptic marriage of Grails and The Doves. Dark yet warm guitar tones ripple the surface as the tribal rhythm begins to stretch out, allowing for vocalist/guitarist Conner Poole’s spectral vocals to build off of the backbone of his brother Chris Poole’s drumming. Bassist Mark Rohrer’s work rounds out the swirling mass that grows louder, before finally exploding into some fiery lead guitar work that characterizes much of his approach in this band, with delay-washed singing coming before a mighty solo

High Lightsolate puts us firmly in Aenima-era Tool territory. A mournful delay opening intertwined with a snarling and serpentine bassline while Chris Poole’s drumming dynamics effortlessly shifts the focus from one place to the next. This is the sound of a band that is obviously well rehearsed and practiced. I personally think Conner Poole’s vocals could be brought a little further forward in the mix, but it is only a small complaint. The song shifts into some unexpectedly heavy and dissonant points, before heading back into the darkly melodic ether.

If you enjoy the spacey travels of Slift or the quiet/loud dynamics of King Buffalo, Novatura is sure to give you what you’re looking for…

A pleasant little acoustic interlude called Caesura comes into play before the driving riff-heavy Wet Cement takes over. Think of an angry Kula Shaker and you’ve probably got the idea. As mentioned before, there are some overtones of the earlier days of 90s shoegaze and Brit pop, which makes a nice foil to the heavier aspects.

The record closes out with the grungy space rocker …Another Realm. Hitting past the ten-minute mark, it functions as an effective closing chapter to this fine five-song offering, delivering a palette of moonlight-drenched sonic glee and aplomb in the manner of Earthless before disintegrating into shadows.

What can I say? The Fellas are indeed Swell. If you enjoy the spacey travels of Slift or the quiet/loud dynamics of King Buffalo, Novaturia is sure to give you what you’re looking for. It is definitely one of the strongest heavy psych releases this year.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Rob Walsh