Two years after the first full-length Birthplace, Welsh singer-songwriter Novo Amor (aka Ali Lacey) has announced the release of a new album. Cannot Be, Whatsoever is out on November 6th. “Opaline” is the first excerpt and comes with the official video directed by Stefan Hunt.
According to the press release, It’s a story that really begins long before the inception of Novo Amor, in Woodgate, upstate New York, where Lacey was employed as a music teacher at a summer camp, holding classes among the pews of an old chapel by a lake, surrounded by tall evergreens. It was a formative – indeed pivotal – time for Lacey, when much of what he thought he knew changed: his taste in music, his appreciation of the quiet outdoors and, most crucially, his heart was broken for the first time. He returned home to his mother’s house in Wales with no job, no plan and no relationship, and shortly afterwards moved to Cardiff and conjured up Novo Amor – a musical act of defiance in the wake of a break-up; it translates literally to “New Love”.
The release of ‘Birthplace’ in 2018 marked a momentous moment, capturing the dizzying feelings of falling in love and the pain that comes with letting it go. It’s both joyous and sombre in equal measure and connected with audiences across the world. Its arrival also heralded the beginning of a year of touring for Lacey and his band; a year of vans, of tour-buses and border crossings, of airports, stages, dressing rooms, of exhilaration and of missing home. It was only in the enveloping winter of 2019 that he was finally able to sit down in his studio to reflect on those life-changing experiences and the ideas that would become the second Novo Amor album – ‘Cannot Be, Whatsoever’ – slowly but surely came into focus.
The process began with the album’s second track ‘I Feel Better’ – the writing of which set Lacey on an optimistic path. Although not an album devoid of solemn moments, ‘Cannot Be, Whatsoever’ is loaded with thoughtful reflection and re-discovery, and as a result it’s both poignant and uplifting. In Lacey’s own words, this new music is “a shift towards the light” which is perfectly introduced by ‘Opaline’ today containing its own fulfilling lyric “Now I feel like I’m finally me”.