With being one of the cuts-above of modern rock’s new class for the last couple of years, the open question around Nova Twins was always going to be where they go next. The groundswell beneath them has been impressive to say the least, as two women of colour smashing through rock homogeneity with buckets of style and swagger, and Who Are The Girls? as a debut full-length was their kick-down-the-door moment to get a strong platform for themselves. Supernova has already pipped so many of their contemporaries to the post in terms of getting new music out and not simply trying to prolong the successes of their breakthrough, which leads to Nova Twins stepping into somewhat uncharted territory within rock’s progression. That said, Supernova’s own boldness is more a result of what Nova Twins had already than anything new they’re trying out. Their own blend of garage-rock with a punk sneer and hip-hop forcefulness continues to serve them well, to where this isn’t as much of a leap as it may superficially seem. Still, the refinement that Nova Twins have packed into this sophomore album isn’t nothing either; the one-two of Antagonist and Cleopatra has an unbridled catchiness fuelled by Amy Love as a singer who’s practically dripping with confidence. Within that lane, Nova Twins dominate, in fangs-bared confrontation on K.M.B and Enemy and a willingness to succumb to their own ego that they sell with such panache. It helps that they keep things pretty lean when that’s more or less the only mode they’ve got; Sleep Paralysis attempts more introspective commentary, but it’s tied to the very end after it’s made abundantly clear that swift, raucous roll is what they do best, and while inevitably repetitive in broad sentiment, the duo are kinetic enough to avoid spinning their wheels at all.
It fits with the live feel that’s always accompanied Nova Twins’ music, where the combustible energy plays out a lot better onstage than on record. Placed among the rattling production and chainsaw guitars and bass tones, the punk heart of Supernova stands exposed and robust, particularly when infused with elements of hip-hop on K.M.B and even glances towards dance music on Choose Your Fighter. It’s an ideal fix to the stagnation of garage-rock that Nova Twins clearly want no part in, even down to the open-circuitry buzzes and sparks embedded in the riffs to give them just a bit more kick. The comparisons to genre pileup acts for whom a similar base is the norm is welcomed, only for Nova Twins to smash down a clearly inferior approach. There’s no performative ‘genrelessness’ to what Supernova is; it’s emblematic of its creators’ wider ambitions, sure, but at no point does that come at the expense of tightness or real impact. Nova Twins’ fearlessness rings out strong, even refocusing a song like A Dark Place For Somewhere Beautiful with its more lockstep pace that, in the wrong hands, would be utterly demolished under its own leaden mass. Not so here, though, as testament to just how proficient the duo are when it comes realising the extent and potential of their style. This is punk with the attitude and riotousness turned right up, and doubling down on the niche that Nova Twins have bore into for themselves, more in the velocity of the punch than anything else. It’s something that’s clearly working when Nova Twins are yet to falter on momentum, or hit upon ground that they’re unable to mine a thrill from.
For fans of: Enter Shikari, Vukovi, Saint Agnes
‘Supernova’ by Nova Twins is released on 17th June on Marshall Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall