The band Novagolde are a bit of an enigma thus far, as they claim to hail from “…the 4th dimension and Madison, WI,” and little else has been offered up about them so far. They’ve apparently been slowly releasing singles since June of 2016 and recently decided to compile them into their first self-titled EP. While firmly in the wheelhouse of rock, this intentionally obscure yet pioneering band uses their analog instruments to sound like dream wave or dream pop, with just the right amount of actual electronic flourish.
With this EP’s opening track “Chain Reaction,” Novagolde introduce their sort of trippy style with a guitar inro and a sweeping ambient flourish that is reminiscent of the opening track to Hum’s You’d Prefer An Astronaut, “Little Dipper.” Hum are a 90s shoegaze mainstay, and this opening was a clear nod to the montonic band. Very quickly, however, “Chain Reaction: goes a different direction, with spacey synths and syncopated drums that meld with the grungy yet atmospheric guitars. The vocals in this track also sound more like Royston Langdon from Spacehog, another 90s grunge group, than Matt Talbott.
“Jail,” the second track which was originally released in August 2016, is a little more sparse on the guitars but has lots more synth. It’s a more relaxed and less shoegazey track than “Chain Reaction”and really shows Novagolde’s diversity, with the space-inspired synths tying the two tracks together style-wise. “Next Time I’ll Survive” is not quite as heavy in the spacey synths, but still has a great ambient quality that would tie in with dream pop or, technically the opposite end of the spectrum, prog rock. Novagolde are definitely all over the place in terms of their style, in the best possible way. The last and most recent track on the EP sees the return of the space-style synths, again with a prog rock/grunge fusion style. It’s theatrical and shoegazey, a little Dadaist and definitely experimental all at once.
It seems Novagolde may still be experimenting with style on their first EP but all the different styles they’ve done on this release, they’ve done quite well. The other advantage to their style incorporating so many different gernres is, obviously, that many different types of fans will be into this band. They used electronic music as sort of a flourish, but it also marries with the guitar style and even the production. While each track, separated by months in terms of releasing, has its own flare, this sort of muted and ambient production as well as the use of said electronic flourishes is what ties them all together and gives the band a trippy, dreamy overall appeal. It’s shoegaze for a new generation, and it just might work itself into a sunrise set.