London indie three-piece Noisettes are riding the crest of a wave, the irresistible Don’t Upset The Rhythm currently riding high in the singles chart. Is it the perfect sequiteur into Wild Young Hearts, or an albatross around its neck?
Named for Quality Street’s green triangle offering, Shingai Shoniwa, Dan Smith and Jamie Morrison seem to be poised to fill the void left when The Ting Tings ran out of ideas, their intelligent pop paling the aforementioned Mancunians into insignificance.
Album opener Sometimes sets the Noisettes stall out with gumption, its acoustic, minor chord progression as notable for its defiance of expectation as for its irrepressible beauty.
Don’t Upset The Rhythm follows, its placement at track two suggesting in equal parts that it’s as much the band’s forte as their guilty pleasure. What cannot be denied, however, is its frenetic, infectious retro funk, and it shines amongst its aural peers every bit as much as it does on any given Mazda ad.
As with all exciting albums, Wild Young Hearts is more than the sum of its parts. The title track, for instance, could be accurately described as a simple summer clap-along, and yet Shoniwa’s soaring vocals and an unapologetically cheery piano backing imbue the track with a timeless, lovable quality.
A mournful aspect, too, finds its way into the Noisettes signature sound, rendering their impression far more than just easily-digested pop. Every Now & Then, for instance, channels sweeping, maudlin melodies into the equation with the aplomb of a Duffy or Adele effort. To the band’s credit, the album’s flow is competently preserved through such changes of tack.
Past the halfway mark, Beat Of My Heart betrays the Noisettes’ guitar-based heritage, juxtaposing it adroitly with electro epithets. The style with which they execute such pairings would make the Yeah Yeah Yeahs proud.
And there’s still room for various strikes from leftfield: Atticus echoes the opener’s unplugged minimalism, Shoniwa’s voice as beautiful as ever; Never Forget You melds Van Morrison with Amy Winehouse; Saturday Night takes on CSS at their own game and comes off favourably.
That such comparisons can be drawn may be fodder for Noisettes’ critics, and it has to be said that even in its strongest passages, Wild Young Hearts – for all its passionate effort – cannot claim to be something never done before.
That, however, is besides the point. It’s an LP wrought for enjoyment, and whichever peers it name-checks, whichever influences it acknowledges, it meets its remit with flair. The Noisettes will soundtrack countless listeners’ summers, and for that I doff my cap in their direction.