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Album in Focus: Novacane By Drealnova



Novacane the EP, comes as the debut project of Drealnova born Thabani Vuyisile Moyake, who describes himself as an artist of world music and his sound embraces that. In my mind, his music can be described as RnB meets the world. It's a fusion of RnB with various other genres from Afrobeat to Dancehall. A former member of the group Zimpraise, Drealnova has been charting his own path over the past few years and it has culminated to his latest project. The EP itself came out a while ago but it's one of those that had slipped through the cracks and we are only getting to it now but better late than never.


In the words of Drealnova himself, in an interview with EarGround, "Novacane is a body of work that I made when I was going through the most, mental health issues are no joke and so, just like everyone, the past year plus has been crazy. So I made Novacane in a season where I was looking for healing." He continues, "Novacane is an anesthetic used by doctors to block pain waves from travelling to the brain and likewise, I made Novacane for myself. First, in a bid to heal myself and secondly, I want to share that same experience with everyone that comes across this body of work. This is a project centered around love, pain, pleasure and numbing out that pain.  So, this is for everyone who is tired and looking for a break. Something that doesn’t get your mind overthinking but rather, just brings rest to the mind and soul."




Novacane contains 10 tracks that explore the subject of love in all it's different facets. The project is filled with smooth vocals and constant Afrobeat sound throughout. The melodies are infectious, can't help but get into the rhythm with every song you listen to.


 

Cleopatra opens the project and sounds like a vocalized love letter with an easy tempo. Drealnova serenades us with his ode to Cleopatra. It feels like more than a song but a reference to a particular person he came across in life. 


My Darling comes through with an Afrobeat feeling and a slight elevation in tempo. It's a track about newly found love, the whole process of a person letting you in on what they want and need, what makes them who they are.


Lockdown is soulful, rich and strikes right for the heart. It's not just a song about love but also blends in some social commentary. I like how Drealnova adds realism to the tales in his music by anchoring everything to how we presently live.


Love me better has by far the best instrumental on this project. It's a beat with a heavier texture that changes in dynamic but wonderful to listen. 


Kure kwegava has Drealnova embracing his mother tongue. He delivers a beautiful performance in Shona that match or even surpass anything done in English on the project. The song title and lyrics are based on the Shona idiom, "Kure kwegava ndokusina mutsubvu." Translated it means "The jackal only consider faraway, a place without smelly-berry fingerleaf (mutsubvu) fruit tree (A wild black fruit tree indigenous to Zimbabwe and loved by jackals). The song is performed over beautiful strumming of  guitars, giving it an almost acapella-esque sound.


Che Che Che is another smooth vibe where Drealnova truly channels that Afrobeats flavour. The hints of Zimbabwean music taste are still in it and the different influences are beautifully balanced. He even takes it back the 90s which lyrics that are sampled from Matonto's hit song inga nhasi tafara. 


Kongotsvoda alternates in energy, switching the tempo up a notch then down again whilst Drealnova delivers amazing vocals. The project maintains a clear identity throughout. It gives us beautiful music that'll last longer than just in the moment.


Good Times is slow and soulful. Nova switches up his lyrical delivery. It's the kind of music you make love to. I think this song stands on its own. It's uniquely RnB or maybe soul but there's a certain purity in its art. 


One in a million featuring Mcknife has dancehall elements to it though it's still RnB in its essence. Mcknife and Drealnova both excel on this duet. It's a worthy tag team.


Love and Pain is titled as a bonus track but considering how good it is, It was definitely not an afterthought. It's beautifully heartbreaking if that makes sense. It's a song speaking on push and pull that occurs in love. Drealnova delivers with passion appropriate to the emotions.


Greedysouth rating: 7.5/10


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