Release Date: Aug 27, 2012
Record label: Mono-Ra-Rama
Noisettes are anathema to those who feel indie-ish pop should have a deeper purpose – their third album is a frothfest of colour and light, with a joyous disregard for genre boundaries, but almost zilch in the way of introspection. Its "redeeming" quality, if one were needed, is that it's been made by a band with an almost nerdy love of music and its power to lift the spirit. Indeed, Shingai Shoniwa, whose springy vocals are the keystone of the duo's sound, credits Contact's optimism with helping her mother battle cancer.
If there was any doubt that the Noisettes were committed to the polished pop makeover they gave themselves on their breakthrough album Wild Young Hearts, the 30-piece orchestra that graces Contact's intro, "Transmission Will Start," should settle the matter. If anything, the Noisettes -- now a duo of Dan Smith and Shingai Shoniwa -- sound even sleeker and slicker as they hone in on the mainstream. Not that this is a bad thing; after all, they were a bit late on the garage rock tip during the What's the Time Mr.
Noisettes' last album, 2009's Wild Young Hearts, marked a sudden shift from the scrappy indie of their debut to a polished pop sound and yielded No 2 hit Don't Upset the Rhythm (Go Baby Go). Unsurprisingly, there's no volte-face here; chart-friendly electropop and retro soul predominate, and though there's variety in the mandolin strum of Rag Top Car and the title track's orchestral balladry, these are smooth gear changes rather than detours. Still, Shingai Shoniwa's vocals supply enough personality to elevate them above standard winebar fare, and the perky doo-wop of That Girl, in particular, is impossible to dislodge.
A likeable and accomplished third set from the London pair. Nick Levine 2012 There's no nice way to say this: Noisettes just aren't very cool. Their second album, Wild Young Hearts, went gold back in 2009, but this follow-up hasn't attracted much buzz. Snobbery is probably playing a part: that second album was much slicker than their 2007 debut, What's the Time Mr Wolf?, and they got their break on a TV advert.
There is only one approach that seems fully appropriate for listening to anything by The Noisettes. First you must get in your car, and then fully commit to pretending it’s a bright green Mazda. Next, pootle round the streets shout-whispering “Zoom zoom” at randomly spaced intervals, and blare your chosen music at full volume. True to my word, I conducted myself in this manner to review The Noisettes’ third album, ‘Contact’ - entirely for intellectual reasons, I might add.