REVIEW: Sylvia Rose Novak Transforms Her Sound With “Bad Luck”

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On her latest album Bad Luck (Sylvia Rose Novak), singer/songwriter Sylvia Rose Novak eschews the acoustic country-folk sound of her three previous records and instead employs turned up Crazy Horse style electric guitars and occasional crying pedal steel guitars to establish her melodies and to come up with a thoroughly loud rock and roll record. Combined with her always biting and incisive lyrics ( that part hasn’t changed), the multi-talented Novak puts together a frenetic and exciting creation that should appeal to a wide swath of rock, country, and Americana fans. It is a record that sounds like a 21st century hybrid of outlaw country and cowpunk with the original twist that a female is singing in the outlaw/outsider protagonist mode in the songs, a place usually reserved for males.

Admittedly and openly drawing upon the musical influences of the grunge, post-grunge, pop-punk, and post-hardcore of her youth, Novak, along with her co-producer Brad Lyons, delivers an album whose loud guitar production values fit the subject matter exquisitely well. Novak, through her tough sounding and impassioned vocals and words, presents songs that tackle addiction, mental illness, personal growth, and the rough and gritty nature of life itself.

Highlights include “Dry”, a courageous and in your face anthem about alcoholism,” Little Sister”, a tale about a desperate woman on the run, “Shadow”, which deals with the false judgments that people can have about you, and the titular “Bad Luck”, a song partially inspired by Novak’s own obsessive disorder and her taking personal responsibility for her actions.

On the album cover to Bad Luck, a tattooed Novak appears ready for a fight as she stares at the viewer while sitting on the floor next to a shattered mirror, a metaphor for her new sound. It is a sharp, tenacious and captivating image much like the record itself.

Bad Luck by Sylvia Rose Novak is now available on her Bandcamp page.

Credits: Music and Lyrics by Sylvia Rose Novak, Music to “Bad Luck” by Kelen Rylee and Sylvia Rose Novak, Vocals and Harmony Vocals: Sylvia Rose Novak, Bass: Sylvia Rose Novak, Guitar: Kelen Rylee, Drums: Blake Bolton, Pedal Steel: Ford Boswell, Produced by Sylvia Rose Novak and Brad Lyons, Mastered by Ruairi Kilcullen at RdK Audio in Atlanta, GA, Mixed by Brad Lyons, Recorded by Brad Lyons at Boutwell Studios in Homewood, AL

 

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