If you haven’t heard of The Noisettes, you will. With their new single “Don’t Upset the Rhythm” featured in a Mazda commercial and their second album Wild Young Hearts set to drop on April 20th, the band is poised for meteoric success. Comprised of guitarist Dan Smith, drummer Jamie Morrison and funky frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa, The Noisettes have come a long way since the band formed in 2003. Back then they could have been categorized mainly as a rock group but with the debut of their first album, What’s the Time Mr.Wolf? showed they’re so much more. Which begs the question, what exactly are they? Pop, punk, rock, soul, blues or R&B? The answer is simultaneously all of the above and none of the above. Guitarist Dan Smith explains, “We have a whole lot of different things in our music like that sort of dance music thing, Prince, Cameo, Stevie Wonder. We just sort of roll all that stuff into it. As far as how it compares with contemporary pop music, because we go out to clubs and play with other bands, I don’t think it [our sound] is something you can predetermine.”
While the sound may seem all over the place, there is definite growth from the band musically. While Mr. Wolf was an undeniable foray into the gritty, grimy world of garage band rock, their latest offer is something totally different. “The main way it’s changed is that it wasn’t written in a guitarcentric way. I think me and Jaime just had too much fun messing around in the studio on the first album, thinking about really cool guitar and drum parts, but not really thinking about what Shingai was supposed to sing on top of it. And every time she’d be like ‘Uh, there’s not much for Shingai to sing here.’” This new perspective brought about the irresistibly danceable single Don’t Upset the Rhythm.
“[W]e spent a lot of time gathering together, writing songs at Jaime’s house, and going away to little places like rehearsal studios in the middle of nowhere. We tried all of sorts of things really. We spent a lot of times listening to records, listening to pop records, listening to a lot of dance music, all sorts of things. We just distilled it. Then the producers came along and it kind of took on a life of its own… You’ll hear a single and people might think that’s the kind of direction we’ve gone in, but we’re all over the place.”
The writing process has also undergone a few noticeable tweaks. According to Smith, Wild Young Hearts took an entire year to write and only four months to record. “[W]e spent a lot of time gathering together, writing songs at Jaime’s house, and going away to little places like rehearsal studios in the middle of nowhere. We tried all of sorts of things really. We spent a lot of times listening to records, listening to pop records, listening to a lot of dance music, all sorts of things. We just distilled it. Then the producers came along and it kind of took on a life of its own… You’ll hear a single and people might think that’s the kind of direction we’ve gone in, but we’re all over the place.” The biggest challenge was creating a body of work that made the both the label and the band happy. Smith feels the latest album is more of a British sounding affair and is eager to see how American audiences will respond.
The Noisettes are seriously anxious to hop the pond so they can do what they best – put on a face-melting live show. Dan is a force to be reckoned with on the guitar, and Jamie furiously bangs out the rhythm. Shingai, aside from her enviably fly style, and picture perfect looks is known for her onstage antics. The half-British, half-Zimbabwean front woman bounces frenetically off speakers drawing the audience in with raw energy and charisma.
With such a striking frontwoman, the band is constantly under attack by those who’d like to see Shoniwa strike out on her own ala Lauryn Hill and Gwen Stefani. It’s nothing new, it’s been happening since Dan and Shingai were in the band SonicFly. Smith steadfastly dismisses the haters, “[W]e’re quite inseparable from each other. I’m sure she’ll go out and do her own thing one day. It’s natural for someone to see a girl like Shingai, she’s amazing, and wonder what’s she doing with guys like me and Jamie.”
So for now, The Noisettes are a rock solid, rockin’ trio. With a kick-ass live show, edgy, innovative music that you can shake a tailfeather too, and wicked style The Noisettes have the potential to achieve something that has become elusive as of late in the music industry – longevity and respect.
For more information on the Noisettes please visit www.myspace.com/noisettesuk.