Everything Forever EP (plus enhanced CD)
Novacosm is a Toronto dance-rock band that is better known for their back-story than their music. Although that story is interesting, the music is worthy of further inspection. So, I’ll stick to the music. Mostly.
The album design (a collage of trance painting, lotus flowers and an enlightened man?) and song titles (“Everyday Love” and “Dance of Life”) allude to a neo-hippy mentality; and, at times, this five song EP, Everything Forever, is clichéd — but somehow that’s acceptable.
“Everyday Love,” begins with eerie keyboard tickling similar to Martin (Depeche Mode) Gore’s ’80s heyday, then swims into a Bowie-esque rock tune. George Burdi sings, “If I ask to be… love is the only currency.” Even with this lyrical banality, Novacosm delivers a joyous record laden with dance beats and peppered with rock tones.
And the musicianship on “Empty Mourning” is superb; it reminds me of Live’s first album, Mental Jewelry.
The EP also includes bonus tracks in MP3 format and a 19-minute “rockumentary” entitled “Novacosm: The Power of Music.”
Of the seven MP3 tunes, “The Girl Who Owned the Sea” and “Black Easter” stand out. “The Girl Who Owned the Sea” is a beautiful reinterpretation of a Hindi poem by Raj Vaid, and “Black Easter” is classic example of Novacosm’s formulae: drum loop beginning with an overdub of a dance song and mix thoroughly with guitar track.
As I noted earlier, Novacosm’s story is intriguing, and the documentary found on the EP (and at ifilm.com) presents Burdi’s specifics without sentimentality or fear. Burdi was a rebellious, confused youth who “identified” with Hitler and Mussolini, and was known in Toronto as a “high profile young racist.” He formed the hate-spewing hardcore band RAHOWA (Racial Holy War) and Resistance Records, a label dedicated to “White Power,” and became an outspoken neo-nazi/fascist… then Burdi was convicted of an unnamed crime. While in jail, Burdi studied religion and changed his ways. When released, he set out to form another, altogether different band. At first the multiethnic musicians (the bassist is a black Englishman; the guitarist is Jewish and played along techno-dance records in Toronto clubs) seem designed, but when listening to the EP it is clear that everyone contributes without reservation, and produces a fine record — with or without a reformed racist.
Novacosm’s debut Everything Forever is more than a detour of a neo-nazi’s past. It is a heavenly record espousing the opposite; the band (and the record) exhibits the “power of music” to transform lives — for good and bad — and to challenge oneself.