Words & Noises returned earlier this year with the playful DIY pop of Play Your Cards, a single that was quirky, addictive and broke the current trend for one-time left of centre acts suddenly returning with a mainstream sound. The good news is that their long-awaited EP The Collector picks up where Play Your Cards left off and is from the very first listen a compelling, unique experience.
Centre stage is the distinctive vocal of Chris Selman. As marmite as ever, you will either love or loathe his vocal whine that is reminiscent of the great Mark Greaney, but it is hard to imagine their songs working with a voice lacking its edge. For Words & Noises are a duo who wear their heart on their sleeve throughout their latest EP – from the cleverly crafted songs to the tender, moving lyrics, Words & Noises are the Coldplay of the cool kids.
This latter comparison is never more evident than on their most recent single Rewind, which closes the collection. While it has the panache of Arcade Fire, it has the melodramatic emotional presence of Coldplay. As close as the duo get to a song that could break out on to mainstream radio, we were disappointed it wasn’t accompanied by an equally lavish music video, but we would happily Rewind the track time and again to just hear Chris’ lush vocals.
While Rewind provides the EP’s highlight, the remainder of the EP manages to shine just as brightly – with the songs working best as a body of work than independent releases. From the demanding pomp of The Morning After to the mid-90s sensibilities of Desperation, The Collector is a collection that is best left unpolished and delivered with an edgy cool demeanor.
Words & Noises prove that playing with the formula is not always for the best. We love Words & Noises for staying true to their DIY core.