St. Petersburg-based band Iva Nova has spent a decade sifting through the detritus of Russia’s pop music scene and drawing inspiration to produce something better than chart-babble that clogs up the mainstream.
On the eve of the release of 2010’s “K Sebye Nezhno” (Treat Tenderly), percussionist Ekaterina Fedorova, explained that every fresh assault of mindless pop-pap inspired the group to continue to plough its own furrow and create interesting, challenging music.
But that’s not to say the band – currently operating as a four-piece following the departure of Inka Lishenkevich in June 2012 – is in any way fusty and po-faced about its music-making.
Quite the opposite: an Iva Nova gig tends to be a riotous affair, blending folksy overtones with raw-edged punk sensibilities, a whiff of jazz and a determination to bring the audience into the show.
Their sound is driven by Natalya Potapenko’s accordion, heard at its finest in tracks like Vedma (The Witch) wraps sinuous melodic lines around a rocking core, kicking out into the kind of music you might get if Nick Cave instructed his Bad Seeds to stop moping around and knock up something he could dance to. But there’s also a more gentle, sensitive side which highlights the vocal skills of Anastasiya Postnikova, exemplified by Sertse bez slov (Heart without words).
Meanwhile, over the course of three albums, the band has steadily evolved a sound which works as well in the studio as on stage. After admitting a certain dissatisfaction with the results of their earlier releases, “Iva Nova” (2004) and “Chemodan” (Suitcase, 2006), a new approach helped “K Sebye Nezhno” create a more rounded view of the band’s sound.
“Playing concerts and recording in a studio are two very different things, but when recording this album we wanted to recreate the energy from our concerts,” Fyodorova said. “We tried to do this by playing with the dynamics, by accentuating both loud and quiet moments.”
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