It’s entirely possible that ATLANTVM, the upcoming full length from Nomen Novum, is the first album to be inspired by the city of Doraville since Southern rockers Atlanta Rhythm Section tasted Top 40 success with 1974’s Third Annual Pipe Dream. In the intervening years the city has undergone massive change, evolving from a sleepy town with a country feel to an industrial center with a large immigrant population.
I bring this up because early in the development of the record, Nomen Novum, aka David Norbery, found himself spending considerable time in the city due to his work relocating near Spaghetti Junction. As Norbery notes in a press release, “…these grey, industrial new environs were a massive influence on the tone and lyrical content of the album. A lot of the lyrics and titles reference real places around there. A hospital. A strip club. A motocross park. A gas station. All pretty mundane stuff, but the names were evocative to me, and I tried to imagine what else they could stand for.”
With that sort of introduction you might expect to the album’s first single to hit you with something cold, dark, and gritty, but “Yellow Shadow” proves to be a more complex affair, shifting from playful synthpop to introspective post-punk with all sorts of shades in-between. The track doesn’t have the genre-defying innovation Norbery displayed during portions of his last LP, Lookalikes, but there are still enough surprises and left turns to keep you immersed and listening close.
Norbery has never possessed a strong singing voice, but what he’s lacked in power and projection he’s made up for with clever phrasing and the poetic abstraction of his lyrics. “Maybe it seems / I’m losing all you taught me / Candlelit dreams / I’m here, you might not be” he repeats in the song’s arresting coda, hinting at both the ravages of time and the impermanence of being. Norbery has made of habit of tackling philosophical conundrums with delightfully idiosyncratic pop songs and “Yellow Shadow” is another fine addition to his inventive catalog. Listen below.
ATLANTVM is out March 25 via Deer Bear Wolf.
Nomen Novum will celebrate the release of ATLANTVM on Saturday, March 26 at 529. Also performing will be FiatNil, Anticipation, Pamela_and her sons, and Warning Light. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $8.