“And I miss the folksingers from the days of old/ When a three chord song could save your soul.”
While scrounging Bandcamp, I came across a band by the name of The Novel Ideas and thought, “That band sounds like fun, let’s give it a shot.” Well, turns out my initial impression of the band was right on. The Novel Ideas is a self described “folk rock outfit”, which we’ve been seeing lots of recently. One of the really unique things about The Novel Ideas (no puns in this article, thank you very much), is that they are making music that’s essentially pop/folk music, but one of the instruments that’s omnipresent is a lap steel, which gives the album a country sound. It’s not country, the lyrics aren’t country, the vocals aren’t country, but that lap steel immediately makes your mind scream “COUNTRY!”
The album, “Home”, rarely breaks new ground, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, providing us with harmonies and song-stylings that we’ve enjoyed for a long time. The male vocals often sound a lot like Joshua Radin (all of them), a soft, perfectly balanced male voice to harmonize with an equally soft and beautiful female voice. The band’s great harmonies, matched with their great songwriting, combine on an album that is worth far more than what the band is giving it away for. (www.thenovelideas.com)
The album begins off with what will be, for me, a song of the year in “The Blue Between Us”, a song about love not lost, but held on to. It’s a song about the journey that is a relationship and it’s flawless. Its slow beginning matches its slow ending, with an uptempo story in the middle. It ends with “It takes a certain kind of love to bear this load,/ but it’s not the tired romance of the open road.” It’s a song that you’d send to someone you love as a thank you note. It also includes one of my favorite song lyrics ever. “And I miss the folksingers from the days of old,/ when a three chord song could save your soul.”
The sound of the album is mostly acoustic, filled in with pianos, drums, bass, and other instruments, giving it an organic and live soul, but it sounds polished and fresh. There are times, like in “Running Speed”, where there is one voice and it seems like all the others join in to form a full chorus, giving the album a sound much bigger than its overall feel. It’s more soft-rock and less folk-rock. Regardless of what you call it, it’s balanced, vocally and instrumentally, musically and lyrically, and it’s well done.
“Not Enough”, a song that sounds like a duet, like a scene in a movie where two people are in different places singing in the same song. The chorus has the vocalists alternating “There is nothing to say,/ The same as yesterday,/ That is not for you to know” and “How are you tonight?/ Where are you tonight?/ Do you ever miss me, my dear?” It’s a very cool juxtaposition of perspectives.
The last song, “News”, a song about getting the news that someone was leaving, is a painful and personal look at what breakups/divorce/etc. can do to a person. “I think we both want the same thing,/ but we see the same thing so differently.” The Novel Ideas and their album “Home” are about all you could ask for from an indie band giving away their music for free. Check them out on our FREE music page.