Who are the girls? The girls in question here are Georgia South and Amy Love, two London-based women of colour who (hold onto your monocles here chaps) make seriously heavy music.
I know, I know, I saw the line-up for Reading and Leeds too - I’m aware that the 5% female, 5% non-white criteria for the entire genre of rock seems to be holding strong. The underground of the UK’s rock, metal and punk scenes has become less pale, male, and most certainly less stale over the last decade or so. But across this wide spectrum, acts such as Milk Teeth, Petrol Girls, Skinny Girl Diet, Big Joanie, Ithaca and Venom Prison have been stuck bubbling under the surface, watching on while more familiar-looking bands like IDLES, Fontaines D.C and Blossoms use up all the available oxygen.
Putting it bluntly, to the outside world British guitar music looks pretty much the same as it did 20 years ago. It needs new blood. It needs new sounds. It needs new faces.
Nova Twins, perhaps more so than any of their peers, look well placed to kick this dull status quo right between the legs. Over the four years since the release of their ear-catching, if a little ropey, debut EP, the duo have been gathering their strength and honing their style, readying themselves for the release of their full-scale manifesto. Love has become infinitely more assured as a vocalist, her shit-talking snarl combining some of Little Simz’ commanding drawl, a hint of Brody Dalle’s roar, and a hefty dose of Luciana’s braggadocio from Bodyrox’s ‘Yeah Yeah’. It’s a voice that kicks down doors and takes names, never allowing itself to get lost behind the sonic wall built up by her guitar and South’s bass.
Nova Twins’ pedalboards have also grown exponentially since 2016, when their reputation for grotty, pitch-shifted assaults of distortion earned them the label ‘grime-punk’. It’s not an unfair description. South’s basslines are what supercharge the songs, leading from the bottom with a dirty, street-gutter rumble that attains absolute perfection on lead single ‘Taxi’. When paired with Love’s delivery, the music can resemble the heavier cuts from Skepta and Tempa T, but they just as often deviate into the realms of UK garage, or rave, or even dubstep.
Both ‘Play Fair’ and ‘Bullet’ end with full-on wub-a-dub freakouts that owe a debt to the likes of Caspa and Rusko, while ‘Undertaker’ genuinely sounds like it could have been painstakingly pieced together out of re-pitched Rage Against The Machine tracks by The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett.
While their peers are busy taking on board smooth-edged American influences and trying to become the next Imagine Dragons, Nova Twins’ sound remains 100% homegrown British beefiness. There are many people out there from across the rap-rock spectrum who will despise this album (for reasons both fair and foul), but there are many more who will appreciate the lack of compromise in this rollicking call to arms. You have never heard two women have this much fun with a metric fucktonne of distortion pedals, but if you do in the future, then the way will have been paved by Nova Twins.
Words: Josh Gray
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