FEATURE + REVIEW: birmingham rock and roll, THE NOVUS
I'll wait until you've all taken your seats, because I haven't heard a rock song as shamelessly catchy as Birmingham natives The Novus's "Man On The Bridge" in ages. I can only imagine how much fun this song must be when the band plays it live. They've been described as "the most powerful thing to come out of Birmingham since the steam engine," and I'm not all that well-versed in the British Industrial Revolution, but I absolutely concur.
"Man On The Bridge" is one of the most literal songs you could ever listen to - it is genuinely about a man on a bridge that the band saw in Camden, dancing a jig in his underpants, and apparently he'd been doing it for years. I can only imagine a life so free. The song will have you dancing around your kitchen faster than you can say "industrial steam engine."
Alongside "Man On The Bridge," The Novus have also released "Castaway," a live demo recorded in lockdown that's worlds eerier than the titular release, more reminiscient of their previous releases and the post-punk influence it seems they often like to dip their toes into. To be quite frank with you all, I fell in love with this song the moment I heard it. "Castaway" is the kind of song that doesn't beg to be appreciated - it knows that those who understand what it's about will get it straightaway. Again, I would love to hear this one live - even now I can close my eyes and if I try hard enough, I'm in someone's basement, it's the early nineties, there are amps lining the walls, and almost everyone has a lit cigarette they're neglecting between their forefingers.
They're impossible to box in, but to get a good idea of The Novus and what they stand for, you really need only press shuffle on their discography and listen.
The following is what the band had to say about their newest single:
This single is our first on vinyl and was made possible by Flying Vinyl who instigated the first pressing and included it in their May distribution alongside singles by Strange Bones, etc.
'Man On The Bridge' is produced and mixed by Gavin Monaghan (The Blinders, Editors, The Sherlocks etc.) at Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton. The track was originally on a cassette mixtape we made last year featuring a couple of our own songs with others by more Birmingham bands, it was picked up by BBC Introducing in The West Midlands and discovered by Huw Stephens who played it on his BBC Radio 1 show. Now, finally, MOTB gets its first proper release.
We wrote this song in the van on the way home after we came down from Stourbridge to play a gig in Camden and saw this old guy (in his underpants when we saw him) dancing his heart out by the bridge at Camden Lock and apparently he's been doing it for years.