Don't mistake this ensemble's hetman, guitarist Pierre Alexandre Gauthier, for similarly surnamed keyboardist Patrick Gauthier from the Magma offshoot band Weidorje. I almost did and found myself thinking "What the...???" 'cause the music's markedly different, much more jazz fusion, not zeuhl-based progjazz...though, come to think of it, it ain't all that far from it either. The two combos would do well in concert actually. Also, the fact that this is the only CD I know of to do a take on George Clinton / Parliament's classic "Maggot Brain" makes Novox not exactly yer average set of cats. Gauthier's a devotee of The Divine Jimi and often sends solos ripping through the speakers, as in Betty's Back, where a Blues Brothersy horn section sets a tasty contrast. Thus, even though it's 2014, don't think that the band doesn't know from old school; this CD is dripping with it, the sophisticated grease that made all the churning rhythms of the last few decades so damned infectious.
Many elements come pouring through Over the Honeymoon: Brian Auger, Isaac Hayes, Cassiopeia, a bit of Keef Hartley, Shakatak, Herb Alpert, KUDU label materials, the CTI imprint, and then more the modern units like Beat Funktion (here) and Soulive (here). Ah, but when Gauthier jumps the guitar in, in a searing psychedelic riff, the skies lower, storm clouds roil, and everything gets to boogying real serious-like. Killer use of dat ol' wah-wah too. 'Member Pat Thrall with Automatic Man? Kinda like that.
Novox is a 7-man unit, so there's never a lack of sound, everyone always mixing it up. Dragon Gate first mellows things out but then kicks up and grooves along like an old Curtis Mayfield song mixed with Klaus Doldinger. Throughout the repertoire, there's turntabling, a perennial Rhodes, tons o' brass, a driving bass, drums to kick your butt and boogie yer bottom, sass, smooth, nasties, and festive night manias. Little is left out. What perhaps surprised me the most, though, was the solid second-keyboardish presence of DJ Mix Master Matt. I've rarely heard the turntable mesh so well, kinda like what Brian Eno was doing in Roxy decades ago but here with a decided difference. Regardless, this is party music that's also great listening fare. Whatever your tendency, toward Seagram's or a spunky Spinoza, you'll find it well accommodated.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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