Novo Combo were all about jangly pop rock, with a definite nod to The Police who were big news during the early 80’s era.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Novo Combo
ALBUM: Novo Combo
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Stephen Dees – lead vocals, bass * Pete Hewlett – guitars, vocals * Jack Griffith – guitars * Michael Shrieve – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Up Periscope * 02 City Bound (E Train) * 03 We Need Love * 04 Long Road * 05 Tattoo * 06 Don’t Do That * 07 Sorry (For The Delay) * 08 Axis Will Turn * 09 Light Of The World * 10 Do You Wanna Shake? * 11 Hard To Say Goodbye
For some reason, the New York band Novo Combo seems to have a presence here at this site. Even though their tenure was brief during the early 80’s, they packed some serious pedigree into their two-album run, which deserves another look.
Bassist Stephen Dees was formerly with Hall and Oates, and the owner of a 1977 solo album ‘Hip Shot’. Pete Hewlett had stints with Sweet Lightning and Euclid Beach Band, before moving from Cleveland to New York where he answered an audition to join Dees, lead guitarist Jack Griffith and former Santana drummer Mike Shrieve.
Novo Combo were all about jangly pop rock, with a definite nod to The Police, who were big news during the early 80’s era.
You hear this early on with the album’s first two songs: ‘Up Periscope’ and ‘City Bound (E Train)’, both prime examples of The Police‘s sparse sounding pop rock. ‘Long Road’ has a jangly pop meets reggae vibe, while ‘Tattoo’ is a likeable tune with a pulsing metronome, it has a danceable quality too. Don’t be put off by that comment. Once you listen to this song you’ll understand where I am coming from.
Mike Shrieve’s regimented drum-work dominates ‘Don’t Do That’, but unfortunately the song isn’t that memorable. ‘Sorry (For The Delay)’ is a faster-paced tune which by now has acquired the Novo Combo template by default; there’s a cool guitar solo at the 2 minute mark adding some spice.
‘Axis Will Turn’ is noticeable for its staccato rhythms, but when it does stretch out, it sounds far more hard rocking than the rest of the LP’s material. Shrieve is again influential with his percussion tricks on ‘Light Of The World’. Hard not to think of early Santana when listening to this.
‘Do You Wanna Shake’ is the album’s change-up moment. A blues-boogie rock n roll workout which is interesting for its variety and difference, perhaps a nod to the likes of Aerosmith or Led Zeppelin.
Novo Combo would move onto their second LP ‘The Animation Generation’ the following year. However Jack Griffith would depart to be replaced by Carlos Rios, himself an accomplished guitarist who has worked with Gino Vannelli, Lionel Richie, Boz Scaggs and Larry Carlton among others. The band would release just these two albums before the members moved on to other projects.