Updated: Feb 2
Part album, part theatricals, this release by Brisbane-based outfit Nayivada is a concept album about “the fictitious realm of Nayivada, where its inhabitants - the Nayivadans - live in a utopian society informed by ancient cultures and governed by limitless possibilities.“ Despite the daunting task of creating an entirely new civilisation through music alone, the band don’t take the task lightly. They go full-on with the flower-power aesthetic, mixing bluesy rock riffs with spiritual-like chanting and nature sounds, creating music that both has a great natural flow and is evocative of its subject matter.
The amateur dramatics come in the first track, Cellar Door, when the opening narration is accompanied by a single shyly-played oboe. However, the music really gets going when we’re absorbed into a world of thick psychedelic layers and vocals, giving this made-up world a sense of exoticism and colour.
The mixture of nature sounds with a more funky seventies vibe seems strange at first. A ‘dad-rock’ vibe is quite strong, with all the references to aborigine culture in the chanting or nature sounds being overpowered by the strong bluesy riffs and psychedelic guitar-work. The music borrows from progressive-rock structures to give this hypnotic, ambient quality that never intrudes too much, always remaining on the back-burner to the plot concerning the Nayivadans.
The lyrics are also very dramatic and psychedelic, again harking back to sixties and seventies concept/psychedelic albums and musicals like Hair. The quivering vocals and confessional, LSD-influenced lyrics in Oneiric feel like a Love track from Forever Changes; just as the singer announces “I’m a dreamer, I like to feel natural”.
If I’m honest, it’s difficult to have a clue what happens to the Nayivadans throughout the album, but it doesn’t matter. It’s more about impressions than giving a coherent story or musical statement anyway. Everything about this album is very ‘ambient’, supporting the overall flow. But it works well, giving us winding guitar riffs and delicately placed vocal textures that feel evocative of something, maybe a boat trip down the Amazon river, or whatever catches your fancy in a world of psychedelia. It’s definitely music for those who like to be immersed in rich textures, and don't mind a bit of an old-school rock vibe every now and then either.