The Novaks

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Canadian quartet the Novaks certainly aren't the first band to take inspiration from the Rolling Stones, but few have captured the group's ramshackle approach to R&B with such insouciance. The blistering "It's a Shame," for example, is a heady reminder of where the Stones started out, ripping up hot, sweaty clubs with short, assaultive numbers indebted to Chuck Berry. The country tinged "Ann" nods to the Brits' brief flirtation with the genre in the early '70s, but the Novaks give it a Tom Petty twist. "Dullsville" perfectly splits the difference, Petty backed by a steel guitar playing Keith Richards. The impetuous "I'll Give You a Ring," meanwhile, hints at "Start It Up" era Stones. Yet for all their cocky takes on Mick and Keef's sound, the Novaks have their own ideas as well, like adding psychedelic Hammond organ and a rousing sax solo to the bluesy "If You Can Do It," or wickedly tipping a hat to New Order with "Man by the Door"'s guitar riff. The fabulous "Don't Worry Baby" is even more clever, beautifully blending purer R&B verses with a '60s flavored, harmony drenched chorus, while the punk edged "Doesn't Anybody Hear It" boasts an even more rousing chorus. The riffs may strut, but it's the melodies that rule this roost. From hard rockers like the driving opener "No One Quite Like You" to the bluesy ballad "You Don't Have to Hang Around," which closes this superb set with a crashing finale, the Novaks rock it old school. But then this is an old set, originally released in Canada in 2005, but now finally picked up for a wider audience, and enhanced by the inclusion of a pair of music videos. Now if only the Stones were as fired up by their music as the Novaks.

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