Will Joseph Cook: NOVELLA (Bad Hotel/The Vertex) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, July 21st, 2024  

Will Joseph Cook


Bad Hotel/The Vertex

Nov 16, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Okay, who had “Will Joseph Cook spitting bars over a drill beat” on their 2023 bingo card? Thing is, the 26-year-old Brit alt-pop phenomenon can seemingly turn his hand to anything, and the result—as proven by this six-track EP—rarely misses.

NOVELLA deviates in tone from Cook’s previous output, especially 2022’s Every Single Thing LP, which found fame for loved up and lovelorn tunes such as “4AM,” “Little Miss Everything,” and the hyper-viral “Be Around Me,” featuring Chloe Moriondo. No, NOVELLA hits a little different, its mood often wandering from sassy irreverence to somber reflection.

Opener, “EYE TO EYE” kicks off with an affecting falsetto vocal and acoustic guitar before morphing into an effortlessly catchy diss track delivered with Cook’s trademark insouciance over bass-heavy beats. On “BORN TO LOSE” he plumbs the depths of toxic social media culture over staccato drums and the year’s finest bass hook. And he goes all out on bluesy number, “MF BASSLINE,” providing arguably the soundtrack to sad boy fall when he sings “I’ve been lower than a mother fucking bassline/You think you got demons you should face mine.” Thinking of revealing your true feelings for that special someone? Play “FEARLESS IS THE FLAME” at full volume. Will Joseph Cook channelling Prince will give you the courage to make that move (and if you don’t ask, you’ll never know, right?).

As you’d expect from Britain’s cheekiest alt-popper, there are also moments here that inspire instant grins and spontaneous dancing. The self-effacing, pure groove of “PUNCHIN’” is an anthem to young romance. But the brightest notes are hit on “NOBODY’S HOME.” Slyly commencing in French, until Cook reveals “I don’t speak French/I wish I did/But I had you going for a second/Just admit it,” it descends into a party tune, with a chorus that BTS would kill for (yes, really), and which instantly makes you feel 10 years younger.

If this is the direction in which Will Joseph Cook is heading, there’s no need to refer to him as a ‘rising star’ any longer. NOVELLA marks the ascendance of Britain’s finest moustachioed troubadour to supernova status, and—as its name suggests—packs a fully realized vision into a short body of work. (www.willjosephcook.co.uk)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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