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A Little Tradition

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Album Review

Novillero have earned a reputation as Canada's leading devotees of U.K. mod-era pop, but their third album, A Little Tradition, demonstrates that they've been expanding their musical boundaries a bit. While A Little Tradition offers a hefty serving of smart, hooky pop just as you'd expect, there's a more eclectic approach at work here; along with keyed-up rockers like "Lost Possibilities" and "Stand Up for Our Side," and R&B-influenced numbers such as "Paco Rabanne" and the title track, Novillero have added some witty and tuneful meditations on contemporary culture (most notably "The Printed Word (Sucks for Inflection)" and "Prank Note") that demonstrate polish and imagination, and the moody "Far from Too Far" reveals a new willingness to downshift for effect. Keri Latimer's guest vocals on "Daydreams and Distractions" buffs off the hard edges of the music without blunting the punch, and the production by Cam Loeppky and Shawn Dealey is crisp and powerful, letting this band sound as sharp and clever as they deserve. Novillero have always been a pop group with the insistent attack of a crack rock band, and that hasn't changed on A Little Tradition; what has changed is the band's eager embrace of a wider range of the pop spectrum, and a welcome growth as songwriters that has given them the sort of material that demonstrates just how talented a band they are. Tuneful, intelligent, and well-crafted, A Little Tradition is Novillero's most impressive achievement to date.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Influenced by such classic mod rock groups as the Who and the Kinks, Canadian band Novillero play their own brand of guitar- and keyboard-driven melodic pop. Formed in 1999, the Winnipeg quartet released its debut album, The Brindleford Follies, on Endearing Records before calling it quits in 2002. A year later the band re-formed, ultimately losing original member Rusty Matyas to his other band, the Waking Eyes. Eventually featuring the talents of vocalist/keyboardist Rod Slaughter, guitarist Sean...
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A Little Tradition, Novillero
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