Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16: The Noisettes, "What's The Time Mr. Wolf?"

Artist: The Noisettes
Album: What's The Time Mr. Wolf?
Year: 2007
Label: Vertigo

Once in a great while, a band will come along that smashes together two just diverse genres, that the result is mind-bendingly awesome. Usually, the genres combined are so distant on the spectrum that being presented with the idea of fusing them together seems completely insane. When a band is described as a combination of Billie Holiday and The Stooges, it is almost guaranteed to be worth a listen. Upon hearing The Noisettes major label debut, 2007's What's The Time Mr. Wolf?, you'll never again be able to listen to music the same.

A trio of UK natives, The Noisettes are easily one of the most wonderfully intense and amazing bands to emerge over the past decade. The sound of The Noisettes follows the raw, dirty, under-produced sound of groups like The White Stripes and The Babyshambles. Jamie Morrison serves as both drummer and producer on the record, and he successfully captures the bands' breakneck speed and spirit on the album. With moods that range from jazz and blues to outright punk abandon, What's The Time Mr. Wolf? presents a band that seems to have endless talent and potential. The fact that The Noisettes clearly have such wide ranging influences enables them to move far beyond the basic tenets of punk and rock, and create music that is truly unique.

Throughout What's The Time Mr. Wolf?, the band members show off their diversity, as they play brilliantly through a variety of styles. From swinging, soulful numbers to stripped down, punky sounds, The Noisettes execute each genre with perfect precision. The guitar of Dan Smith drives each song, whether he is assaulting the listener with crushing chords, or flying around with masterful solo sequences. Morrison's drumming is often so vigorous that it becomes almost unsettling. It is this drum-work that gives The Noisettes a great amount of the intensity that makes their sound delightfully addictive. Along with taking lead vocal duties, Shingai Shoniwa also plays a mean bass guitar. Rounding out the bands' sound perfectly, she brings the ideal balance between thrash and almost jazz in her stylistic approach to the instrument. On each song found on What's The Time Mr. Wolf?, it is clear that The Noisettes are exceptionally talented, and understand how to flawlessly approach and fuse together all of their music influences to produce an amazing sound that has never before been heard.

Often referred to as a "diva gone wild," it's hard to argue that the voice and delivery of Shingai Shoniwa is not the most important element of The Noisettes. Channeling the spirits of the finest soul singers, as well as having the ability to shrill and scream with the best of them, Shoniwa is nothing short of stunning. Her voice often borders on hypnotic, as she flawlessly transitions from velvety, swinging crooning to forceful, room shaking screaming, often within the same song. The range, in both notes as well as style are perhaps best presented on one of the albums' finest tracks, the poppy, yet potent, "Nothing To Dread." Combining brilliant harmonies, breakneck guitar, bass, and drumming, and intermittent shrieks from Shoniwa, the song is simply stunning. Not enough can be said about the pure majesty found in Shoniwa's voice. Where most singers lose track of the notes when screaming or shouting, she manages to stick each note with outstanding accuracy, and it further solidifies her high stature among the singers of the current music scene.

UK trio, The Noisettes, are undoubtedly one of the most original and amazing bands in the world today. A sound that is as much "war era" soul as it is post-disco punk, they will certainly be a band to be reckoned with for years to come. Each member of the band plays superbly throughout What's The Time Mr. Wolf?, and the album is, bar none, one of the most refreshingly original sounds in years. Vocalist Shingai Shoniwa's voice is unparalleled in the world today, and her ability to sing beautiful melodies as well as scream with the intensity of the finest frontmen vaults her light-years beyond her contemporaries. Having only played together for a few short years, The Noisettes have just released their sophomore album. However, their debut record, 2007's, What's The Time Mr. Wolf?, is unquestionably one of the best albums of the decade, and can certainly be seen as the first building block for a band whose career and sound will no doubt become legendary.

Standout tracks: "Don't Give Up," "Bridge To Canada," and "Nothing To Dread."

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