Album Reviews

Noisettes – What’s The Time Mr Wolf?

(Vertigo) UK release date: 5 February 2007

Noisettes - What's The Time Mr Wolf? If you’d gone down to the Muse gig last year, you’d have been in for a big surprise. If you’d gone down to the Muse gig last year, you should have gone early (and in disguise). For every band that ever there was, should have a support act as good as this lot, and today’s the day Noisettes have their album out.

So who are they? A thrash metal Pipettes? An all-female version of The Noise Next Door? Who the fuck are the Noise Next Door? Ask your sister, provided your sister was an avid collector of records by shitty boy bands from 2005, and, no, neither.

They’re a punky, gutsy superball of excitement with a propensity to bounce erratically around the confines of their genre, fronted by Shingai Shoniwa, a whirling dervish of a lead singer with a voice which can range from coliseum-razing to baby lamb-soothing, and What’s The Time Mr Wolf is a cricket ball leathered into the nadgers of indie mediocrity.

You could speculate on what they spent their formative years listening to, but given the hyperactivity which arcs off this debut it seems fairly unlikely that they ever sat down long enough to absorb any influences.

But, if you like, Don’t Give Up is Siouxsie Sioux driving a crane through the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ debut EP, Sister Rosetta(Catch The Spirit) has the thrusting crotch of a Parliament record propelling it along, IWE contains the single most titanically pissed off female vocal committed to record since Kelis urgently declared her dislike for you, and Cannot Even (Break Free) crashes along discordantly like PJ Harvey introducing us to her monster.

Which makes it quadruply surprising when they turn into a folksy bunch of acoustic strummers, as per The Count Of Monty Christo and Hierarchy. But don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as nasty as it sounds: it’s more a case of the tiger rolling over and offering its belly just before eviscerating you.

For when it bites, What’s The Time Mr. Wolf is vicious. Shoniwa’s voice is an extraordinary thing, part Aretha Franklin, part Brian Johnston, and the rest of the band are more than capable of backing up her charisma. But more than that, they’re simply exponentially more interesting than the disposable rock’n’guttural bands who you find cluttering up your local branch of Topman.

What time is it? It’s a damn good time to be the Noisettes. Or dinner time. One of the two, anyway…

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More on Noisettes
Noisettes – Contact
Noisettes – Wild Young Hearts
Noisettes – What’s The Time Mr Wolf?