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September 20, 2006

Filed under: music»artists»noisettes

Three Moods of the Noisettes, by the Noisettes

Let's put it this way: Three Moods of the Noisettes is $6 if you can find it at the bookstore or order it from Amazon. For that price you're only getting four tracks--but they're pretty amazing songs, particularly if you've got a blues/rock itch that needs to be scratched. They bring the Rock. Considering that a lot of CDs nowadays, even by good musicians, often contain only three or four really great songs anyway, this is a pretty good deal.

Shingai Shoniwa, lead singer and bass, has a voice that's practically worth the price of admission on its own. It veers from throaty to sweet, Billie Holiday to Joan Jett, sometimes in a single passage. The drums and guitar are strong enough to support Shoniwa, but stay stripped down for speed. Percussion is almost a military shuffle, while the guitarist breaks up the distortion with some creative tremelo and ghost notes.

I'm not sure what the three moods of the title are supposed to be. The opening track, "Don't Give Up," staggers between jazz and punk, before collapsing into "Monte Christo," where Shoniwa and guitarist Dan Smith trade Alice in Wonderland lines about honeybees and the Count. "Signs" is probably the poppiest of the four, based around a riff that wouldn't be out of place on a Killers album. The album closes with "Burn," a glorious six-minute blues vamp.

Three Moods of the Noisettes clearly isn't for everyone--it's unapologetically retro in its inspirations and minimalist in its arrangements. If the singles I've heard are any indication, since this EP the band has moved toward more traditional (and less interesting) production values, which is a shame. As Three Moods shows, there's a lot to be said for a rough but unrestrained mix.

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