Shingai knows how to be a proper rocker...
Alex Hegazy

20:28 5th February 2007

If you like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you might quite like this. However where Karen O is a crazy, unpredictable off-the wall kind of entity, particularly live, Shingai Shoniwa can’t help sounding a little more controlled and under wraps, maybe got a few more vocal classes in the bag than ol’ Karen? Still, this debut album is not without its fair share of rocking out riffage like on ‘Nothing To Dread’, along with , albeit well directed screaming on old single ‘Iwe’. Shingai just doesn’t have that unhinged creative spark that Karen O embodies. In fact Shingai Shoniwa shares more in common with Morcheeba’s singer Skye in vocal style & background (South London anyone?) – except Shingai knows how to be a proper rocker.

The album opens with a rolling stomper of a song ‘Don’t Give Up’, it could easily be on a British version of Pulp Fiction or Sin City soundtrack, along with other heavy groovers ‘Scratch Your Name’ and ‘Bridge To Canada’. In fact a lot the songs on this LP emanate an American edge from the strong rock influence at play. This is in contrast to a particularly English sounding set of vocals – this combination giving The Noisettes an interesting musical taste that gets the toes tapping. It’s not all grand rock monster choruses though. The last three tracks on the album slow it down and show a more subtle side to the band.

‘Mind The Gap’ sounds all pretty and MOR-like until it takes a rhythmic twist a third of the way through, keeping an essential element of surprise. Then there is penultimate song ‘Cannot Even (Break Free)’ that joins the dots from rock to sweet soul music but still finds room a heavy rock/screaming break out. Lastly there is the catchy ‘Hierarchy’ and secret track ‘Never Fall In Love Again’, both of which introduce an acoustic element, where lead guitarist Dan Smith can be heard getting closer to the mic and even takes main vocal at one stage.

In fact it’s the male/female vocal mix that is apparent throughout the album that really gives The Noisettes that extra layer of intrigue to add to their frantic yet fantastic rock out sound.