Album: The Noisy – The Secret Ingredient is More Meat

It was a happy moment indeed when this gorgeous album was recommended as a must listen by the kind folks at Audio Antihero. It is a wonderful set of songs and my life feels better for knowing it. That’s what art should do. It should enrich in some way. That doesn’t mean it should be straightforward – the best art is often far from that … and although this has a surface level polish that might suggest it will be an easy ride – it is anything but: there’s great, subtle depths lurking beneath the sheen. It repays repeated listening; it does not disappoint. 

From the woozy mellotron at its very beginning, I was hooked in; it’s a diverse and enveloping collection whose sounds dance between jangling melodiousness, grungy, guitar-pop and something more yearning and nostalgic, all held together by poet and songwriter Sara Mae’s  exceptional voice uttering idiosyncratic, amorous aphorisms and cryptic self-reflections.  It’s a glorious, beguiling, sensuous thing.  Drink is a steady reference point and as someone who struggles with sobriety, its relentless presence made for mildly unsettling intrusive thoughts… but I’d forgive this music anything.  

Produced by Jacob Lawter of Slow and Steady, The Secret Ingredient is More Meat is a delightfully debauched  and glutinous affair – pleasure and despair and an open hungering heart fill every twist and turn. The words are an especially sumptuous treat – image-rich and ripe with poetic directness. Backlot’s wobbly, wonky guitars and slow but steady pace allow for those images to coalesce in arresting ways as the rhythmic strum begins its shuffle. It’s really magical stuff- it feels effortless this music- utterly natural and confident in what it needs to be.

There’s something endlessly romantic too  about the faded soundscapes created across this album – particularly when those guitars quiver in the songs’ quieter moments. It’s really beautiful stuff.  The soft trumpet at the end of Violet Lozenge adds further sepia-tinted beatific brushstrokes; it’s vaguely reminiscent of the sort of cool, retro trickery of Tele Novella, but it ploughs its own particular furrow nevertheless. 

There is a decided pop sensibility at play here- that decorates deftly those artful and carefully-crafted lyrics; these feel like songs that could dip their toe into the mainstream. I hope they do. The radio needs more music like this beaming into people’s homes, making them sit up and take notice of these subtly mesmeric sounds. Morricone is an open horizon of a song – big ambient atmospherics simmering and a vocal line of absolute clarity.  Neckline then, is a perfect song to end this wonderful album. It does what all good final songs do- it takes its time, it bows out with delicate, glamorous grace – the melody sinuous and utterly beautiful. Good god, it’s good. That slow, cinematic throb of Juniper Kramer’s cello building steady subtle power – the piano all stately, parlour room pulchritude. No frills- just infinity. 

Released on May 24, The Secret Ingredient is More Meat should immediately enter your must listen list. It’s a delight from start to finish. 

Written by M.A Welsh (Misophone)