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Wild Young Hearts
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About the Artist
From the stomping electro-rock of Saturday Night and galloping funk grooves of forthcoming, first single Don't Upset The Rhythm, to the joyous, jazzy title track, the glorious `60s-tinged soul of Never Forget You and the sultry, shimmering pop of 24 Hours, in Wild Young Hearts, Noisettes have made what is set to be one of 2009's most adventurous albums.
Never fond of a formula, the trio always intended on a radical musical detour from their acclaimed debut, What's The Time Mr Wolf?, an album that spawned five singles and took them on tour for over a year, sharing arena stages with Muse and criss-crossing the States with TV On The Radio and Bloc Party.
"Some bands stick with the same style forever," says singer Shingai Shoniwa, whose versatile vocals have seen her compared to everyone from Deborah Harry and Kate Bush to Billie Holiday and Diana Ross. "They get together because they share identical musical tastes, then never do anything different. We're a gang, but we're also three divas with different record collections who constantly introduce each other to new sounds, whether it's African music, jazz, Van Morrison or Black Sabbath. For us, making music means keeping our ears open."
Noisettes certainly took an unconventional approach to starting songwriting. Fresh from tour in summer 2007, guitarist Dan Smith (a man known to pair silver trousers with a yellow, sequinned shirt) and bearded drummer Jamie Morrison (who still seems surprised to be in a band at all) began sonic experiments that involved getting stoned before trips to the Natural History Museum, then attempting to cover the likes of Britney's Hit Me Baby (One More Time).
"We wrote over the top of lots of brilliant, outright pop songs, then removed the backing track to see what was left," explains Morrison. "None of what we ended up with appears on the album, but the process inspired us to come up with new ways of songwriting. We also hung out in a lot of clubs, then came home and tried to copy the sounds we liked. That freed us from the conventions of writing guitar-based tunes."
Come autumn, the trio piled their equipment in to a van and spent random weeks writing at residential studios in the likes of Devon and Brighton. En route, they listened to early Prince and Portishead, Queen, Talk Talk and Fleetwood Mac. The theme of the songs was captured in the album's title.
"Wild Young Hearts - it's about feeling young and acting young, whatever your age," says Smith. "It's about having fun and not following the pack. The three of us became genuine friends making this record. We got drunk together and even trashed the odd hotel room. We're very different people, but we formed a bond which you can hear in the songs."
The new material was road tested at sporadic shows last year, including a performance at South By South West and a tour of France, where Don't Upset The Rhythm brought the house down every night, convincing Noisettes they were on to something special. Yet the band still weren't sure how the album would sound until they holed up in a London studio last June with Arctic Monkey's producer Jim Abbiss.
"We knew we wanted soul and an atmosphere that captured a specific period of time, the way Portishead albums do," says Morrison. "But we had never played the songs together in a studio. All the parts were demoed separately on computer, with no real instruments. The idea was to feel like we were covering songs we vaguely knew, so the album sounded fresh and spontaneous. It was so much fun we recorded a tune a day and didn't argue once!"
Friends came in to add bass parts and strings and both Shoniwa's little brother (a semi-finalist on TV talent search show I'd Do Anything) and a baritone from her childhood choir contributed backing vocals. Most striking though is the range of Shoniwa's own vocals - soft and beguiling on album opener Sometimes, jazzy on the acoustic Atticus, strident and sexy on Don't Upset The Rhythm and bright and bluesy on the Motown-tinged So Complicated and future single Never Forget You.
"I grew up with traditional music from Zimbabwe - Afrobeat mixed with reggae and funk, which my uncles played," says Shoniwa. "Then I studied musical theatre, sang in choirs and jazz bands. Dan even got me a job singing vocals in a Diana Ross covers band. Because of that background, I can wrap myself around anything from a sweet soul ballad to a jazz song to noisy rock'n'roll."
"We all felt Shingai's voice was sitting idle a bit on the first album," adds Smith. "Because most of the songs were guitar based, she had much less to play with. Shingai has an amazing jazz voice, but that didn't come through before. Now, you can hear all her different moods. How she sings sets the tone for every song. On Never Forget You, she's very upbeat and the lyrics sound like a conversation in a bar. On Every Now And Then, she's more melancholy and reflective. The contrast is like going out on a Saturday night, then paying for it the next morning."
What hasn't changed with Noisettes is the energy they put in to performing. Described as `the best live band in Britain' by The Guardian, a recent London show saw Shoniwa charge in to the audience playing guitar and sing clinging to a ladder suspended from the ceiling, a nod to the circus skills she learnt in her teens.
"The idea of putting on a proper show seems to be missing from a lot of young bands at the moment," says Shoniwa. "We always go that extra mile to give the crowd a night they'll never forget. I love artists like Hendrix and Bowie who fussed over their hair and took time choosing an outfit.
"We're not trying to be trendy - we want to make music for everyone - but we put effort in to every aspect of being in a band. Our aim is to prove that pop music can still be alternative and exciting. With this album, I know we can do that."
Top Customer Reviews
The Good: The vocals performed by Shingai Shoniwa is definitely what gives 'Wild Young Hearts' it's flair and attitude. Her voice, unlike so many artists these days, is natural and not computerized or auto-tuned. The Noisettes exude uniqueness and individuality with their music relying on vocals left untouched and natural backed with actual instrumentals that give each song a very indie rock vibe as if you're listening to this group in concert or in an intimate setting like a small club venue. I can tell that the group put time into actually developing the music and the lyrics. Basically, when you're listening to 'Wild Young Hearts' you feel the music is authentic and personal and that the Noisettes really put themselves into the music. The music itself reminded me a lot of doo-wop infused with pop and rock. If I had to compare them to anyone it would be Blondie; the music has a very early 1980s punk rock vibe; happy, whimsical, lyrics and a voice that's unique and really pulls you in. There's really no 'bad' song on the release.Read more ›
Once I do, I'll be sure to weigh in.
Grabbing at influences that range from funk to pop to R&B and hip-hop, to jazz and punk and even flares of country (Sometimes); The Noisettes have a deep pool to choose from, and while their influences may crop up here and there in subtle flourishes, they are recognizable and admirable, for they add layers of uniqueness to this album. I'm intrigued to get my hands on their debut album, for I have a feeling it may be even more diverse than this album (correct me if I'm wrong), and so I have this aching feeling I may even like that album more than I like this one.
But serious, I am dying to hear their stoned out take on `Hit Me Baby (One More Time)'!
The album opens strong, with `Wild Young Hearts' setting the tone and pace of the album (the funk throwback feel is the strongest influence on this album). I love the playfulness of the track. It lets you know right up front that this is a happy album. The band even made mention in interviews that this was an album about being young, no matter what you age, by the way you act; enjoying your life and having fun. `Wild Young Hearts' is a beautiful way to introduce that morale. `Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)' comes next, screaming 60's and proving even more exciting and engaging than `Wild Young Hearts'.
Pure disco brilliance.
The best track on the album, without any hesitation whatsoever, is `Never Forget You'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really like the retro sound. And she got great pitch in her voice.Published 13 months ago by Keena
Fabulous truly alive music! Some pop, some danceable, some singable. Unique female lead voice. Wild Young Hearts and 24 Hours Ago are my favorites, evoke memories or fantasies of... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Canary
This is one of the only CDs I've bought in almost 2 years, it's that good. The Noisettes are amazing music that just makes you want to dance and sing along. My number 1 band!Published on November 8, 2013 by Tara Kidd
BUT I DID HEAR THEM ON DENNIS FERRER'S HEY HEY. HOUSE MUSIC!! AND I HEARD YOU SAY HEY HEY , I HEARD YOU SAY HEY HEY!! CHECK THEM OUT ON YOU TUBE. Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by pca777
Kind of reminds me of Diana Ross & The Supremes with the style of music this artist sings. My youngest Daughter got me hooked on this one! Read morePublished on June 20, 2013 by Robert Ruddle Jr.