Friday, September 2, 2011

REVIEW// Noah Wall: Hèloïse

     'Hèloïse' has been live over on the SoundCloud for about four hours at the time of writing, so this review is literally bang up to date! Noah Wall is a Brooklyn based artist, with this twelve track record shipping out physically later this month. The digital version can be downloaded over here, as well as pre-ordered for shipping. All of these I eagerly recommend, because this is some good stuff Wall's got going on. In a few words? Psychedelic electro-folk, if such a genre does indeed exist. The thing that makes 'Hèloïse' however, is most certainly Noah's remarkable voice. It shimmers with a melancholic sheen on every track. It stays anchored, but  at the same time soars above the soft experimental edge and brilliant production that dapples this record. The name of said record is that of Noah's mother, and that emotional connection also comes through in the lyrics and the mellow, almost post-punk manner in which they're sung. Something about their heartbroken sadness just transcends similar albums, and when everything works with the element surrounding it, that makes for the most wonderfully relaxing and at times intriguing music.
     After hitting play, a strange thundering bass rocks the ground as subtle beeps flit about the musty air. This very threatening tone at the start of 'Mind Games' is somehow changed around by Noah, and by the time you realise you've settled into something much softer, you want to go back and observe that change again. The whole thing, vocals included, demand your full attention, which is a factor missing in modern mainstream music. The higher range in '4AR' fluctuates under a thin film of echoey reverb, but a minimal start and finish ties the track together. Harmonious moaning at the start of 'Chorus' does the same thing as the fist track. From an unnerving, almost undead groan, the tambourine beat comes in, and everything lights up. The noisy crackle and guest vocals vary 'Public Dancer' and indeed the whole album up. The bluesy guitar and location vocals on 'Blue Station'. The wild-west swagger of 'Snowfax'. The detailed drone of 'Admonitions'. Every track has something about it worthy of note, which is very rare. I congratulate Noah Wall on what could very well turn out to be an absolute masterpiece. 
      'Plussy Bo La' and 'Wake Pattern' make a very apt ending to a very remarkable album. The former's deep, booming authority oozes confidence not only in itself, but in the whole record, and the latter's fuzzy nostalgia tickles long-forgotten memories out of hiding. Speaking of memories, I don't think I'm going to forgot about Noah Wall or 'Hèloïse' for a very long time. Lyrically, vocally and musically, Wall is more than adept at what he does Every one of these little gems shines with the humble honesty of a man who merely wants to make people happy. For me? He's most definitely achieved that! Stream 'Blue Station':