Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Album Review - Night Noise Team - Rever Électrique

Crisp, enveloping synthesizers and a well-rounded low end, coupled with lush strings and a sonic atmosphere that makes you want to drive all night, is only the beginning when it comes to the third effort from Frenchman Fabien Pinardon and Irishman Sean Ormsby, better known as Night Noise Team.  With Rever Électrique,  which came out in April of this year, the duo have come close to perfecting their production skills, as they take full advantage of the full stereoscope and sonic range, while the vocal delivery (Fabien) is reminiscent of Of Montreal; smooth, but with some definite edge creeping in.

Night Noise Team is everything the name implies: they can create some amazing noise, which somehow they wind in to deep melodies, layered instrumentals topped off with catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics.  The whole album feels like a perfect driving track, which is exemplified by the track High Line;  except instead of driving at night, it feels like a 9am cross desert trip in to the sunrise, with nothing but your shades on, some Nuerofen in your pocket, a hangover creeping in and some animatronics that you stole the night before.

Right off the bat, Rever Électrique  gets you into a great groove with the first single The Enemy, Time, the vocals reaffirming with the first line that this album can be a soundtrack to a night drive; "we can take a drive tonight..."

The whole album has a cool, nonchalant vibe that if electronic music was bigger back in the '70’s you could see this being played during the film Dazed and Confused  while the gang makes their way up to the local hang out spot.  The synths are full, defined, and the duo create a layered atmosphere that makes your ears dig deeper in to each song to try and find those hidden background sounds; almost like staring off into nothing while heading down the overpass and possibly spotting something out there in the distance.

Fabien has a strong yet varied vocal delivery, backed up course by Sean, but both are aware that they don’t have to overpower anything to get the lyrics across, leaving the music to help along the vocals and create an energetic, but laid back vibe that makes you want to dance without any of the preconceived notions of trying to look and be cool.

The addition of the acoustic guitar in Days,  and subsequent tracks afterwards, really helps to attract listeners across all platforms.  It adds to the whole dynamic of songwriting; and it is refreshing when you can play electronic music on a guitar, say during one of those nights with all your friends where you bust out the guitar and get people swaying and moving in a matter of seconds.  Throughout the album there is always a great rhythm with the drums to accompany every song; the percussion is a full, solidified sound with a crisp snare that breaks through and keeps the downbeat going, while the hi-hat keeps the listener moving on time and the various electronic drums help get the point across.

Picking up the Pieces  starts out with a fantastic piano line; so crisp and clear that you almost want it to keep going for the whole album.  But restraint in such a fantastic instrument, and sound, shows respect for the listener, while keeping them wanting more.  However, during the course of the track they do bring it back in a whole different way, with what sounds like a harpsichord paired with the piano.  The eventual break for the piano/harpsichord is brilliant; it is such a great break from the rhythm that you don’t see it coming, but you appreciate those few seconds when you do hear it.  A duo that appreciates the subtly of space and silence, the idea of anticipation, keeping you forever on the edge and wanting more.

In my opinion, the best track would have to be The Universe,  because of the rhythm and the harmonies, which add to the sonic atmosphere giving this track a sort of pop vibe, though it could easily be played in any setting and enjoyed by anyone whether they are sober or have had a few drinks.  Huge synths, deep low end united with a nice background ambient synth means definitely something to groove with.

Night Noise Team seem to be in the middle of not going overboard with their talent, and comfortable in just giving enough to the listener.  The slight undertones in the lyrics suggest heartache and sadness, but the delivery is happy go-lucky, so it is a nice mixture of emotions that captures the heart.  When the distorted parts comes in, like that through a talk box, it increases the emotion and also changes up the track so that it feels like they are there with you, up in the booth, giving you a private show.

Rever Électrique  is definitely a must listen if you enjoy good songwriting, layered melodies and lush harmonies that combine in to one, overall piece of night driving electronic music.  Night Noise Team are only getting better with each album in my opinion, and though they have created an atmosphere suitable for the dark, lets hope the dawn shines on this duo so the world can see just how good they really are.

- Michael Greenwood

Night Noise Team - Rever Électrique  is out now via Permwhale Records and can be purchased as a download or limited edition vinyl here.

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