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  • Writer's pictureMcKinzie Smith

REVIEW: Nory-J’s “Tough Cookie” is a heartwarming return

All good things come to an end. On August 15, Caravella announced that they were officially headed into retirement as a project due to “distance difficulties” related to COVID-19. Before you cry that the pandemic has yanked yet another precious thing from our desperate hands, there’s more! Jack Spooner, the vocalist, songwriter, and lead guitar player of the band will still be trudging on and releasing more music under a new name: Nory-J. The first track of the Nory-J project, “Tough Cookie,” has been released today and it couldn’t be more fitting for this new chapter.

Caravella’s previous output is notable for its easy incorporation of retro flourishes and guitar grooves, but “Tough Cookie” is a more straightforward feel-good anthem. That doesn’t mean it sacrifices any of the warmth of the Caravella sound. “Tough Cookie” is a welcoming song with full, ear-enveloping production. There are breezy backing vocals and layers of guitar over guitar, with the same distinct J-pop-inspired guitar tone of prior songs. This combined with Spooner’s vocals and the lyrical storytelling of a supportive relationship between two insecure people creates a touching experience, sure to capture the hearts of many a show-goer once COVID finally sorts itself out.

Though many will inevitably be disappointed that Caravella is no more, Nory-J is an exciting new direction for Spooner. He claims that the project’s first album release will contain songs he’s written over the past two years through his time with Caravella. Whatever those songs have in store for us, I’m sure they’ll be worth the listen.

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