Coming from the hardscrabble town of Winnipeg, Manitoba (that’s the middle of Canada for you geographically-disadvantaged folks…), one would expect some tough, gritty music. But Novillero instead shine bright on their third record, A Little Tradition.
That attitude can be heard right from the beginning with “Life in Parentheses”, an upbeat pop-rockabilly with great, toe-tapping rhythm and an infectious catch. Yet “Life” is somehow outdone by the following “A Little Tradition”, perhaps thanks to the horns (making the title track akin to a ‘happy Spoon’ – QRO live review). Unfortunately, most of the other upbeat tracks on Tradition don’t quite ring as sweet – with the exception of super-fun middle number, “Lost Possibilities”.
Novillero also have a sadder side, but it’s never that downbeat. Early song “Shadowboxing” has a wistful air to its carry, but is still up-tempo. The slower “Plastic Drag” still plays it sunny-strum (better than the dragging penultimate torch song, “Far From Too Far”), while the female-vocaled “Daydreams & Distractions” brings a touch of twinkle-sad to the chorus.
But Novillero’s heart is firmly in the swinging sounds of the sixties, nowhere more so than the grand “Prank Note” and finisher “Camaraderie or Bust”. Not the first thing you’d expected out of the city of ‘two seasons – deadly cold & swarm of mosquitoes’ (and the band goes even farther south for the latin-tinged instrumental “Paco Rabame”), but ya gotta keep smilin’…
MP3 Stream: "A Little Tradition"
– Michelle Moretti