Jun 2011 17

Cover Image
Noblesse Oblige
Category: Synthpop
Album: Malady
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Crowley-inspired mysticism and apocalyptic folk add new elements to Noblesse Oblige’s blend of electronic dance beats and acoustic cabaret croons.


Before signing with Metropolis Records, Berlin-based duo Noblesse Oblige had already established a solid reputation – not to mention critical acclaim – by blending avant-garde, cabaret-inspired acoustic numbers with sparse yet sensual dance rhythms. There’s no shortage of that on their third full-length album, most especially on its first single, “The Great Electrifier,” but it’s not what makes Malady so interesting. Inspired in part by 20th century occultist Aleister Crowley, the album comes off like something David Tibet might have done if he’d been staying at Andy Warhol’s Factory studio in the 1960s. “Equinox” is a wispy post-punk folk duet, like a gentler version of early Death in June, and “Moonchild” is just a bare snippet of acoustic mysticism. “Lady with the Kazoo,” despite its prosaic title and the fact that it’s little more than lead singer Valerie Renay playing the titular kazoo over Sebastian Lee Philipp’s guitar strums, is eerie and haunting, awash in echoes like a Michael Cashmore-era Current 93 instrumental. And the neo-folk elements aren’t even the strangest things about Malady, which also features a sort of new wave version of tribal music on “Sambo” and the chilling, spoken-word driven “May They Come with Spears and Knives,” not to mention Crowley-inspired blues on “When Thunder Breaks Up Under.” Noblesse Oblige may have started off as critical darlings of the club scene, but Malady proves there’s more smarts and strangeness to Renay and Philipp’s work than even the smartest and strangest dance music.
Track list:

  1. Morning Docks
  2. The Great Electrifier
  3. Beck and Call
  4. Equinox
  5. Moonchild
  6. Tropical Fever
  7. Lady with the Kazoo
  8. Cracks on the Wall
  9. When Thunder Breaks Up Under
  10. Zanzibar
  11. Sambo
  12. May They Come with Spears and Knives

Noblesse Oblige Website http://www.noblesseoblige.co.uk
Noblesse Oblige MySpace http://www.myspace.com/noblesseoblige
Noblesse Oblige Facebook http://www.facebook.com/noblesseobligeofficial
Noblesse Oblige Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/noblesseoblige1
Metropolis Records Website http://www.metropolis-records.com
Metropolis Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/metropolisrecords
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Matthew Johnson (infinitywaltz)

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