Nova Twins review – the loudest, most exciting new rock band in the UK

The Moon, Cardiff
Kept from their natural habitat during the pandemic, the duo now have people crowdsurfing on the ceiling with their thunderous yet precise blowouts

Good things come to those who wait. “Are you ready to go in?” Nova Twins guitarist and vocalist Amy Love asks, safe in the knowledge that some of the people jammed in front of the stage have had tickets to this show for more than two years.

Having put out their debut album Who Are the Girls? weeks before the UK’s first Covid lockdown, the hype around Nova Twins was kept at a simmer by the feeling that, with live shows largely on the shelf, a key ingredient was missing. Here, with their neon-punk stage gear lit up in striking pinks and greens, everything falls into place.

A good rock band is a loud rock band and Nova Twins might be the loudest rock band in the UK. In a packed room, with a ceiling so low that at one point a crowd surfer appears to be walking across it, they fill every available inch of space with finely tuned, bassy heaviness. Love’s leads duck and weave against Georgia South’s undulating bass on the exhilarating opener Antagonist, the duo’s enormous pedal boards twinkling at their feet like prop cities ready for the Godzilla treatment.

Dancing on the ceiling ... A crowd surfer during Nova Twins.
Dancing on the ceiling ... A crowd surfer during Nova Twins. Photograph: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian

Backed only by a touring drummer, they dredge remarkable sounds from their instruments in the style of Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, putting serious chops and technical wizardry to use on riffs that swerve between crushing heft and glitchy Prodigy-style blowouts. The thunderous precision of South’s work during the one-two of Play Fair and Vortex is a little like someone stopping to calculate the trajectory of the perfect swing before hitting you with a baseball bat.

Their latest single KMB – played live tonight for the first time – pairs Love’s charismatic Missy Elliott-esque flow and a monster hook with an addictive bassline, suggesting that there are further exciting twists to come on their second album. The title of Who Are the Girls? repurposed a question that followed Love and South around as women of colour in a scene still dominated by white dudes. Their answer is compelling: this is what the future looks and sounds like.


Huw Baines

The GuardianTramp

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