Born and bred in the small Welsh countryside town of Llanidloes, Ali Lacey – better known as Novo Amor – successfully brought a little slice of his rural heritage to Gorilla in Manchester earlier this month. Set amongst leafy decoration and dappled pastel colours, his high croon and gentle instrumentation brings to mind American woodsmen such as Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens.
For all this harkening to his pastoral past, much of Novo Amor’s output so far has related to new beginnings. Lacey rechristened himself Novo Amor after a difficult breakup, and the album which accompanies this tour, his debut without long-time collaborator Ed Tullett, is aptly titled Birthplace. Perhaps the quiet reverence with which the hip young audience watched him was born of an unfamiliarity with the new suite of songs, but I believe it’s more likely that they were held in rapture by this atmospheric set.
Highlights on the night included ‘State Lines’, ‘Terraform’ and the title track from his new album, a poignant warning about the accumulating plastic that is ruining our oceans. This track alone sums up the balancing act that Novo Amor strives to strike: a soothing melody with icy, powerful undercurrents, forward looking but inescapably anchored in the natural world around us.
Novo Amor’s new album Birthplace is out now.