After releasing a couple of EP’s, “Souvenir” is the self released debut album from [sub]nova, a Sheffield based 5 piece comprising Gary Walker (vocals), Dario Sanchez (Guitar), Tom Gratton (Guitar), Matt Simons (Bass) and Chris Williams (Drums).
The albums starts with ‘Arms Wide Open’ and ‘Black Soul Monday’ two tracks that bring to mind Paw, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden and a few other bands from the early to mid 90’s. Not necessarily a bad thing, especially as they have done a much better job of it than many other bands that have tried to follow this formula, but as such they still have a lot to live up to. Some solid riffs, big hooks and a general chilled out pace set the tone for the 11 tracks on show.
The two tracks that follow this (‘Kerosene Girl’ and ‘Severance’) are evidence of the quieter side of [sub]nova and both are decent songs. These tunes still have a healthy amount of distorted noise but show they can write slower material to counteract the noisier tracks on “Souvenir”.
The album gets back up to speed with ‘Runaway’ before slowing down again with ‘Snow In July’ and this is the only real problem I found with the album. Had these two tracks been swapped around it would have meant the album had a better flow, because the next four tracks build up the noise again. ‘Deathrow Cheerleader’ and ‘Razorblades And Motorcades’ especially are both strong tunes that bring to mind more recent bands such as Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry. This is a band that are as comfortable writing big rock numbers as well as ballads without compromising any of their sound.
The main riff in penultimate track ‘Sleeper’ could have come straight from the first Rage Against The Machine album, but again this brings back good memories, rather than thinking bad of the band. Following this is the slow paced acoustic ‘Trains’ is a really good choice as an album closer, a song that shows the range that vocalist Gary Walker has, supported by two fine guitarists in Dario Sanchez and newest recruit Tom Gratton.
This is a decent, well written rock album and a damn good first effort that really is worth checking out. The songs are memorable and this is a band that could definitely do well given the right push. While it is nothing particularly ground breaking, I genuinely can’t find anything bad to say about “Souvenir”, it does exactly what it promises and doesn’t outstay its welcome (it’s 11 tracks spread out over 42 minutes). I will definitely be listening out for future releases to see how [sub]nova develop.