Nova Casanova: “While They Were Dancing” is marked by hope and love, and shadowed by loss

I’m very surprised at how good the album “While They Were Dancing” is. It contains very reflective, yet expansive songs with excellent lyrics and melodies that actually stay with you afterwards. The musical accompaniment moves from elegant, upbeat and organic sounds to moodier electronic influenced soundscapes. Somehow it seems just right. It was a wise move on Nova Casanova’s part to keep the record to 10 songs. The songs all seem to belong to each other and the overall listening experience is perfect. I can’t really pick a favorite song or two. All 10 are worthwhile and I never felt like hitting the skip button…even once.

As for Nova’s voice, it’s just so perfect for these songs. He has both a resonating mid-range as well as higher harmony range which he fully displays here – so at times he may sound like sulky Chris Rea, as per the title track, “While They Were Dancing” and at other times he will remind you of a reverberating Jackson Browne as on “Notorious”.

There is a gentle bit of huskiness in his voice that only seems to enhance the lead vocal impact of these songs. Due to his lyrics and storytelling abilities, Nova Casanova’s general vibe harks back to the great singer-songwriters and troubadours of our time, but his sound seems a little more fleshed out and edgy in places.

Irish American Nova Casanova has inherited a love of music and storytelling from his ancestors and puts it to good use in all his music. As a pioneer of “ultra-rock”, a multi-genre based on futuristic guitar tuning, Nova presents a panorama of sound and words that bring to life a storied world of love, hate, joy and sadness.

Nova absorbs inspiration from Period Dramas and Crime shows by watching TV while holding a guitar in one hand and singing into a microphone connected to a mixing desk and a PC.  Immediate capture of the seminal moment is paramount in producing the unique songs of this talented artist.

Nova’s album of originals is marked by hope and love and shadowed by loss. This is apparent with some fiercely heartfelt journeys toward love and life’s contrasting rewards, listen to the words on “Lock On My Door”, tribute song for the families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 – “I keep a lock on the door where my soul is aching. I can’t believe God will leave me so forsaken. I wonder what I’ve done to lose someone so young.” It’s a song of despair, grounded by the acknowledgment of time’s merciless march. But there are positive romantic moments, like “Something Grand” and “Lava Lamp”.

But Nova isn’t chronicling his own spiritual, existential and emotional journey on this album; it’s everyone’s. At some point, most of us ask the same kind of questions these songs pose. This record is the sound of someone exploring our place on the planet – in relationship to everyone else – head-on, doing his best to figure it all out as he goes along.

And Nova Casanova does this through analyzing relationships. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the importance and futility, the hubris and humility, the drama and the comedy inherent in seeking answers to how and why we’re in…or out of love, and sometimes very much in between the two.


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