Album Reviews

Shy Child – Noise Won’t Stop

(Wall Of Sound) UK release date: 21 May 2007

The Keytar is quite possibly the worst instrument ever invented. No, wait. It is the worst instrument ever invented.

As a keyboard player it’s practically impossible to look cool anyway; hell even Elton John resorted to wearing gigantic spectacles to make playing the piano more of a spectacle. The exception to the piano rule is Jerry Lee Lewis, but then there has to be an exception.

Wearing a keyboard around your neck like a guitar is about as embarrassing as it gets. There is no way in the world it can ever be cool.

Well, hold your horses, because here comes Shy Child, a drums and keyboard duo from the good old USA. Now it’s possible that Pete Cafarella might look like the biggest nerd in the world when he straps on his keytar, and starts singing in that distinctive New Wave way of his, but the music that Shy Child make might just elevate him and his keytar to an unheard of state of cool.

For all the talk of Nu-Rave or whatever it is these days, the kids who are being told to like Shy Child have kind of missed the point of reference on the music history charts, seemingly content to stab at it with a rusty blade and just take it all on board as influences.

Noise Won’t Stop is most certainly a dance album, but the kind of dance we’re talking about here pre-dates rave by a good couple of years. In places, such as Astronaut for example, they’re dredging the last days of Disco. Meanwhile, Good And Evil is heavily influenced by early New Wave, something that Cafarella’s vocals fit perfectly.

Title track Noise Won’t Stop does kind of hit on rave for a minute, but hidden beneath the surface of the keyboards is a heart of punk spitting blood down the veins of the tune. It’s hidden pretty well, after all the intro sounds like it’s been cobbled together by sampling Rolf Harris’ aboriginal beat boxing. Oh, and there the huge 80’s production giving the whole thing a glossy sheen. But I swear there’s definitely a glimmer of punk in the chorus when the whole thing comes together in a glorious tumultuous terrace anthem. We’re even willing to let the dubious keyboard solo slide this time around.

Summer is a monotone drone dance tune that sounds a little like a soundclash between Talking Heads and Secret Machines. There’s another irritating little keyboard break, but we’re loathe to say anything about it seeing as Cafarella’s about to make that kind of thing cool again. After all I’m pretty sure he’s singing about teenage sex and marijuana, and those things are pretty cool.

If they’re not cool (although I’m certain they are) then Timbaland is at the moment, and opening track Drop The Phone certainly sounds like the kind of thing he’d knock out, if he had any balls and a keytar that is. Part dancehall, part electro, part R’n’B, and with a smidgen of punk attitude (not to mention something that sounds like a Madness saxophone solo chucked in half way through) it’s a mash alright but somehow it works.

If there’s a criticism here, it’s that things can get a little one paced. The opening three songs have a number of similarities; it’s as if they’re being cloned or something. This minor quibble aside, much of Noise Won’t Stop will get your feet moving. Moving to your dealer, and then off clubbing no doubt. Just don’t embarrass yourselves air keytaring ok? It ain’t cool yet.

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Shy Child – Liquid Love
Shy Child – Noise Won’t Stop