This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by The Noise. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2004.
A year ago The Noise were sounding like a young and excitable pub rock band with a bit of a cheek. A new year, and a new release and they still have the same plunderous love of 70's bluesy rock and roll and much the same basic sound.
Chris Dover is a guitar obsessive with a back pocket full of Hendrix-like free-form blues, some Steve Vye scales and some Jimmy Page rifflets. He sounds like the kind of guy who would drive the guitar shop sales staff nuts. Ryan Mallinson sings his heart out and the rest of the band (Andrew Barnes, drums and Jonny Lyons, bass) follow along in classic style. It isn't a very distinctive style though, and even by the generous standards of pub rock there are some shortcomings.
One seriously missing ingredient (as it was in March 2003 when we last reviewed their stuff) is song writing. Track 2 goes "All I want is lesbian pleasure, fall anto you layee, all I want is lesbian pleasure I want you to feel mah geeah" (or something) It is actually impossible to decipher what Ryan is singing even on the loudest and clearest system I could muster. This was after a promising start and a mastodon riff that flattened the foliage for a mile in all directions. But it’s the same for each of the three offerings - an OK, even sweet, guitar-based idea that sounds like it could go somewhere, followed by nothing in particular and "you've got to teach me how to take off my clothes" words. You might not be able to decipher them on the recording, but the words to "Lesbian Pleasure" remind me of the black marker pen dicks that decorate the backs of bus seats everywhere*. "Everyone Wants To Be God", and top track "Country Song" (a pretty nifty parade of guitar licks) are not quite so silly. But they sure ain't proper songs like Bad Company, Taste, Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After or all the rest used to play.
A fourth (untitled) track points the finger at another basic problem. It's a one minute 36 second Guitar Shop Nightmare, with a drummer joining in part way through. Once, only once, this explosive guitar stuff was exhilarating and gob smacking. 30 years later it doesn’t work. Too many people can (and do) do it. The ones who can get away with it at all are either very old and famous or brought up on steroids and eight hours practice a day (Metallica qualify in both sets). There are no prizes left for only being half as good as the originals. The Darkness are no excuse.
*If you want to check the lyrics, they're on The Noise website.