10/02/2009

Bring (back) the Noise


THE NOISETTES
Wild Young Hearts
[Mercury-2009]

After the numerous accolades bestowed upon The Noisettes for their 2007 debut album What’s the Time, Dr Wolf?--“Billie Holiday fronting the White Stripes” was the most oft-repeated one--and their exciting concert performances--the band were frequently referred to as “Best Live Band in Britain”--we came across the trio's blistering rendition of third single “Don’t Give Up”, on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson and were sold on The Noisettes right then and there. What a ride. (It was also our favorite album that year.)

After the initial run surrounding Dr. Wolf, we began anticipating the sophomore album but kinda lost track of what was going on with the band. So much so, that almost 6 months had passed before we became aware Wild Young Hearts, the Noisettes second album, had been released. Before then we'd heard vocalist/bassist Shingai Shoniwa had dumped her instrument to concentrate full-time on frontwoman duties. "Hmm...that doesn't sound promising", we thought. Unfortunately, we had reason to be concerned.

OK, let's be blunt: Wild Young Hearts does not suck. It's actually one of the better albums released this year. But what this rather polished, above average album lacks is the visceral, thrilling vibe of the debut; its sexy rocker chick frontwoman--reminiscent of a vintage Chrissie Hynde or even PJ Harvey--replaced by a hot Amy Winehouse; the band's sound altered accordingly. Just when we thought we could fall for a new band again...

Flashes of Dr. Wolf's mellower tracks are evident here and there ("Atticus", "Sometimes") as well as some classic New Wave ("Saturday Night", "Beat of My Heart") to go along with the newfound interest in retro soul (everything else), but for those of us who were enthralled by their fresh approach, breathtaking rock and roll attitude and a deft touch for dynamics in their music, Wild Young Hearts may be a tad disappointing.

Highlights: "Atticus", "Every Now and Then", "Cheap Kicks" and the title track.

No comments: