Novillero – The Brindleford Follies

The Brindleford Follies

Oh, you sneaky Novillero. When Endearing sent you, so innocuously packaged, with a variety of the label’s other wares, you saw your chance to escape. While the more obedient and mild-mannered Endearing records sat nicely in a pile until distributed for review, you, you pesky CD you, had to go and fall behind my massive CD rack. And there you sat, chortling with manic glee until I found you when said rack almost spilled its contents all over me just a short week ago.

Unearthed at last, I was able to partake of your pleasures. From Winnipeg in Canada, Novillero consists of six members, some of which are or were also in Duotang, Transonic, and Bullet Proof Nothing. Five of the six contribute songs to this release, thus providing something of a loose collective sound that works for The Brindleford Follies.

Novillero is a band that clearly grew up listening to a lot of music. Unwilling to let go of the essential touches from the past, they build it in to their own pop-focused sound. Therefore, you get an album of jammy, retro-pop that is, surprisingly, pure bliss. Mostly high-powered and catchy as hell, the band members use keyboards and trumpets to add unique flares to their playful pop sound.

“The Plaguing of an Ex-Comic’s Mind” starts off with a kind of poppy romp, flowing nicely but merely hinting at the pleasures to come. More relaxed and twinkly – more pop than anything else – “Stumble On” is more lighthearted and easy-going, but the real brilliance here is the downright awe-inspiring rock of “Vermillion Trade Show.” Full of attitude and rocking guitar, fantastic use of trumpets, and stellar vocals, if you could stand still and not dance while this song plays, you have no soul.

Despite their rocking moments, Novillero is at heart a pure pop band, as evidenced on the bouncy, fun “The Day the Trumpet Player Fell in Love and Learned to Hate Men.” Although, I have to say that the ending of this song has me convinced every time I hear it that the band is about to break into the “sunny days” theme song to Sesame Street. On “Goodbye Blue Monday,” female vocals take over and change the complexion of the band, suddenly giving it a sweet, sugary feel. “On a Canvas, Stained” is vintage 60’s British-inspired rock making its way into a modern indie band, and “Cat Scan” is a bouncy pop-rock track that will again have you dancing. The pure “ba-ba-ba-ba” of “The Muse” is undeniably catchy, and that’s carried forward into the similar “Loose Lips, Sink Ships.” Female vocals come back on that song and carry over into the so sweet and luscious “The Best You Ever Saw,” an absolutely perfect album closer.

I can’t get enough of The Brindleford Follies. Any other band trying this would only sound pretentious and stuck in a by-gone era, but Novillero are clearly having so much fun and have so much talent, they can do no wrong here. Their songs are playful and bouncy but still rock, with the absolute perfect vocal touches. This one should not be missed out on. Check behind your CD rack. You might have it already.