Novi Sad: Europe’s Other Side

After more than a decade of proffering quirky and arty pop-rock (with a hint of psychedelia in recent years) Austria’s Novi Sad switched gears with their sixth release, Europe’s Other Side. This largely acoustic collection of original modern folk songs is characterized by the exotic voice of Evelyn Blumenau (who at times resembles Dolores O’Riordan) and Klaus Schuch’s poignant songwriting and deft guitar playing. Drummer Manfred Scharf is featured, more often than not, on accordion contributing immensely to the overall mood of this album. At times the lyrics are impossibly dense, thus difficult to grasp, other times they are beautiful in their stark simplicity. For instance, rarely has a more tangible sound coupled with a graphic visual been created than on the haunting title track. It gives the listener a true glimpse into the underbelly of deep Eastern Europe. This album contains moments both moving and jarring and sometimes overly simplistic in content. Quite frankly, it also contains confusing moments that seem to make little musical or lyrical sense. In context, however, this is a well-crafted and artistic piece of work that should satisfy those looking for more plaintive and reflective qualities in modern folk music.

March 2004

Review By Dave Sleger

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