Noisettes : What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?

All right, already! We get it! Wolves are fierce. They’ve become the unofficial mascot for indie rock. Can we move on now?

Thanks to the Noisettes, the next buzz band coming out of London, the answer to that question is no. All I can say is, at least the wolf is just in the album title, not in the proper name of the band. What’s the Time Mr. Wolf? gets its American release a few scant months after its official drop in the UK, and while the fervor over this trio isn’t as loud here, the volume of the music more than makes up for it. Noisettes is made up of three Englanders whose names reach the extreme ends of normalcy. It doesn’t get much more middle of the road than Dan Smith, the name of the guitarist, nor does it get any cooler than Shingai Shoniwa, the fierce lead singer of Zimbabwean descent. Then you almost have the namesake of the most prominent figure in garage band history, Jamie Morrison, the drummer.

All right, already! We get it! Garage music in the style of the Strokes and the White Stripes has been the style du jour for the last few years. Can we move on now?

Again, the Noisettes will have you believe the answer is no. Maybe it’s because the Strokes and Stripes are somehow more revered in England than they are in their native homelands, but whatever the case, the Noisettes have picked up the genre and run with it. “Don/t Give Up” the opener of the album, sounds like a Jet single, except for the fact that Shoniwa adds a flavor of either Karen O or Annabella Lwin to the mix that makes the churning guitar stew far more fascinating. “Scratch Your Name” only strengthens the Karen O comparisons while adding one more in P.J. Harvey. A cover of “Rid of Me” as a b-side wouldn’t be out of the question.

All right, already! We get it! Ten tracks of a fire-breathing frontwoman and a rapid-fire band is just too much to take! Can we move on now?

Well, no. Once you get to the third track, “The Count of Monte Christo,” [sic] you realize that Noisettes have a lot more tricks up their sleeves. In fact, on this track alone, Shoniwa can sound alternately like Björk, Norah Jones, Joss Stone and Brandi Carlile. Then there’s “Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit)” which pays intense tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a gospel guitarist who started out in the 1930s. “Bridge to Canada” turns the ideas behind “Maps” into a sludgy psych-metal composition while “IWE” turns a frantic shouting spasm into a hypnotic chant by song’s end.

All right, already! We get it! Noisettes are good! Can we move on now?

Well, yes and no. You’ll probably want to listen to it again.

Similar Albums:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
P.J. Harvey – Rid of Me
The White Stripes – White Blood Cells

Video: “Sister Rosetta”

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