So here we are again with a release or two from that centre of recording excellence Invisiblegirl and the first on the pile is a look back to the great band What?Noise.
It’s an EP, it’s called Nuance, and what we have is a delicious portion of beat orientated sultry ebm/industial pop. You get four tracks of hypnotic guitar music laced with samples, keyboards, and menacing vocals. Described as “four unheard songs from the early 1990s” it’s great to hear this band at their best.
The opener “Paintin'” hangs comfortably somewhere between Killing Joke, Cabaret Voltaire, and Unutterable era Fall. It has a great feel and fantastic rhythmic interplay between growling pace and dub-like drums. Crashing guitars give it added chutzpah – and is evident from the rest of the EP the band is good at “light and shade”, creating (relatively) quieter passages that add great tension to the sound.
The submarine bass of “Hoover” kicks off a memorable melange of dub styles and electro keyboards – the repetitious riffing and timely breaks are a pleasure to my ears and the guttural vocals tend towards Mal of the Cabs whereas the keyboards evoke a teutonic feel.
“Plasticine” is altogether more dance – with a funky back-beat opener that evolves into walls of synths with laconic vocals, it’s at this point you begin to ask yourself why this band didn’t have much more success than they did as this is fine stuff indeed. There is an excellent scratchy guitar on this which really drives the song along.
Closer “Dizzy” continues the dance theme with an insistent four to the floor feel that then develops into a flurry of mechanical sounds and descending chorus. Angry buzzing synths chitter across the soundscape and almost baleful vocals create a real sense of early 90s angst.
A really good release which reminds me of some of the great sounds that emerged around the end of the 80s.