Album review: Noisettes
Wild Young Hearts
Formerly a wimpy three-piece spat out of the arse-end of post-Libertines Camden, Noisettes have done well to cultivate a counter-intuitive aura of amazingness about themselves. They even recently hit Number Two in the singles chart with ‘Don’t Upset The Rhythm’. With fiery frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa thrashing around like a punk Power Ranger, scissor-kicking her way through the Macy Gray school of soulfulness, drummer Jamie Morrison spasming behind his kit like Animal from The Muppet Show and ghoulish guitarist Dan Smith seemingly plucked from a day job playing Death down at the London Dungeon, on paper at least they’re an idiosyncratically exotic musical dynamo, boldly wedding disparate staples of the musical universe in unconventional marriages.
Which begs the question: what the fuck is up with ‘Wild Young Hearts’? Leaving behind the soul-infused, gutter-punk leanings of their debut, this desperately craves the attentions of the MOR indie mainstream in a way so steeped in bathos that the over-produced sheen of the car-ad soundtracking title track shines less like superstar diamonds and more like sun off a bald man’s head. Their name suggests a feminist re-appropriation of noise, but the mawkish ‘Atticus’ and ‘Never Forget You’ witlessly echoing Simon & Garfunkel and Sam Cooke’s radio-friendliness respectively are so far removed from riot grrrl that what should mark Shoniwa out as a tough cookie actually shows her band up as a bunch of limp biscuits. That none of it is irredeemably bad just makes it all the more frustrating; somewhere lingers a sense that Noisettes, in another dimension, could actually be good.