Novelty Island – How Are Coping With This Century? review

Similarly to those from it’s near neighbour Manchester, musicians from Liverpool face a choice early on; embrace your home city’s legacy and heritage, or knowingly reject it. Jumping either way at this near binary choice can have far reaching implications, but what if somebody came along that took a shot at doing both?

Thomas McConell – AKA Novelty Island – recorded and took inspiration from a locked down Liverpool in the writing and recording of How Are You Coping With This Century? But it’s a record that whilst owing an obvious debt to the Wings-era greatness of Paul McCartney, paints in far broader strokes than mere algorithm pleasing, one that’s also in spirit guided by fantasy sit downs with amongst others Ray Davies, Syd Barret and Nick Drake.

It’s joys are almost too many to list, from the mellifluous strum and uplifting soul of Ladybird, via the La’s-esque indie nirvana of Jangleheart to Turtle Rock’s wonderful tilt at seventies psych pop. It’s about this point that a warning is necessary; repeated listens to How Are You Coping With This Century? can take the listener down a rabbit hole from which there’s little hope of escape for several weeks, a destination that Michael Afternoon, I’ll Sleep In April and Blackcurrant Sky will all help punch your ticket to. Let’s hope they still take your shillings there, a place that somehow lies in the roots of every city and town and village in an Olde Englande – and none.

You can read a full review here.

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