photo from Jeffrey Novak’s MySpace
Jeffrey Novak is from Henderson, Tennessee, but when he sings with his affected British accent you might think he comes from somewhere in England. Listening to his newest album After the Ball (self-released on his LMN label) you might also think he’s much older than the mere 23 years old that he actually is. At that very young age the guy has already written more songs and made more records than seems humanly possible,except for maybe guys like Robert Pollard and Mike Sniper. First there are the handful of CD-R’s and singles that he did under the moniker of Jeffrey Novak’s One Man Band, then there was his first band the Rat Traps who never recorded an album but did put out some singles. After the Rat Traps broke up, Novak formed Cheap Time with his girlfriend Jemina Pearl who is also in Be Your Own Pet. Cheap Time put out their first album on In the Red Last Year as well as a singles on Douchemaster and Sweet Rot.
Admittedly I had not heard any of Novak’s One Man Band CD’s, but the punk rock of the Rat Traps and the New Wave of Cheap Time did not prepare me for the psychedelic stoner pop that is After the Ball. Looking like T-Rex on the cover and sounding like parts Syd Barret, Kevin Ayers, Harry Nilson and Ray Davies. At first you might wonder if this guy is for real? A young punk trying to sound like a Brit, but the album really works with its minimal production and Novak’s ability to conjure up spacious piano driven psychedelia win the day. Of the twelve songs on the album there are at least five that are true standouts that are on par with what guys like Kelley Stoltz and Richard Swift are doing, which is pretty respectable when you consider this is kind of a low key record compared to the much more widely distributed Cheap Time album. This gets to my one complaint about the album, and that is the fact that it’s out of print already. It was only just released back in March, but only 500 vinyl copies were pressed. Shattered, Jay Retard’s label is planning to re-release the album on CD with extra tracks, but I’ve heard that it will also be a limited run An album like this shouldn’t be so limited, but I suppose that is what file sharing has wrought. Why press massive quantities of an album, with little chance of selling them because everyone is getting it for free on the internet?
Being the prolific guy that he is, Mr. Novak has two more 7 inches in the same vein as After the Ball. Home Sweet Home recently came out on Shattered and is close to OOP, and One Of A Kind will be coming out on Sweet Rot any day now. Keep your eyes peeled or you’ll probably miss out, and that would be bad.