Bizarrely in a High Street Kensington venue that reeked of extortion and soullessness, Novo Amor, signed to Norway’s Brilliance Records, a music producer that has long been away from the gig scene for the last year or so, performed. Maybe that explains it. Empty, overpriced, West-London bar that seems to replicate some of the similar features to an old train station, the AAA saw Novo Amor, also found under the real name Ali Lacey, prove to West London that he can revive his passion for the improvised performance.
Novo Amor, Portuguese for New Love, originating from Wales, stands in black faded jeans and a burgundy woollen beanie, a modest stage presence with a little timidity and humble self-intro. Otherwise known as Ali Lacey, multi-instrumentalist producer and sound designer, there is a sense that he has yet to recharge his love for gigging, interacting with the fans, as there is a nervous awkwardness that emanates from the stage.
His performance is flawless, uplifting, his ability to hit the high notes blatant, and an immediately obvious Bon Iver and Daughter influence seeps through. As he performs his second track solo, Flay, he makes it almost look too easy, with a quivering falsetto vocal harmony, although at times penetrating. Despite his resilience from being on stage, he appears comfortable there with little pressure visible, which can only improve with time and familiarisation. However, it is obvious that this is no typical musician that aspires the success and talent of Iver; notably his production skills make him stand out somewhat.
Ali Lacey’s music from the offset is very raw, stripped down stories of pathos, and poignancy, conveyed via bass guitar and his own well-controlled, haunting whisper. It is of no surprise to learn that these tracks were written and recorded between the rugged landscapes of the Lake District and his maverick studio in his home in Wales. Comparable to Icelandic artists, Sigur Ros, and Asgeir, the audience fills up immediately, realising the accomplished talent that surrounds this multi-instrumentalist. Unfortunately over the course of his enriching set chatter fills the room, as the audience are not too kind to this artist.
Self-produced, Lacey or Amor’s record is humbling, not entirely reflective of his talent, amidst a venue and crowd that do not lend themselves to this depth of beauty. He has one thing going for him with this gig; inevitably you know that he will in the appropriate venue pull the heartstrings of the crowd, demanding their full attention.
As he finds himself comfortable and exhausted performing again the precise venue that pulls in the correct crowd will no doubt become apparent and there Novo Amor’s clear high-production levels and obvious need for delicate perfection will be appreciated.
Awaiting that moment, I would advise that you listen to his recently released EP (Woodgate, NY released aptly by Norwegian Brilliance Records) which does demonstrate the skill Novo Amor has for creating beautiful, fragile songs, which according to Ali Lacey himself, “preserve originality” (do check out his Huffington Post, which considers his sound design career, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ali-lacey/sound-design-artist_b_5077750.html?&ir=UK). These organically layered tracks at least give me reason to want to check out the videography, which he has underscored.
To find out more about this emerging musician, and his list of forthcoming shows it would be in your interest to check out his website, http://novoamor.co.uk/
Woodgate, NY was released digitally and on 12” vinyl on Monday 31st of March through Brilliance Records.
Live photo by Hanna Armour