Act Noir

Shape A New Start

Written by: TL on 29/03/2010 00:14:42

Ah, another hour of my time unspoken for, another review waiting to be done. Join the ranks of Rockfreaks.net as a reviewer, and I promise you, your life shall never be boring. Next proverbial head on tonight's chopping block is a band called Act Noir, whose new album "Shape A New Start" comes with promotional material that describes them as; "The junction point between Depeche Mode, A Perfect Circle, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails". If that intrigues you, read on to see what I think of them.

I think, first and foremost, that while I can certainly hear that Act Noir borrow elements from those mentioned bands (maybe not so much NIN), bands like Dredg and As Tall As Lions come as readily to mind, if not more so, than Depeche Mode and Radiohead. So does Porcupine Tree, however only because of their more tranquil moments, because "Shape A New Start" is in essence a very restrained and mellow record. More on in a bit though, the important thing is that each and every single one of those bands mentioned, manage to take such a mellow expression and lift it occasionally to moments of much impact and memorability. Act Noir on the other hand, do not.

A harsh and rash judgement I know, but truthfully, I find that each time I put "Shape A New Start" on, it fades from the front of my attention, into background music, over the span of two to four tracks. I can hear the accomplished musicianship in the songs as they do progress and develop over time, however, the difference in levels of intensity is disappearingly small and the shifts between them are so subtle and seamless that you barely even notice them. Now couple the fact that Act Noir insist on being this restrained with the fact that both their artwork and every bit of text I can find about them smells of considerable pseudo-intellectual pretence, and I can't help but to imagine that this is the kind of band who would roll their eyes at any notions I might make, about them maybe wanting to either rock out some more, or be more forthcoming in some other way in the future.

Be that as it may, these guys don't make bad music at all, in fact, it stands a chance of growing on you over time, simply because you may be tempted to put it on as the unobtrusive background music it seems to be. However, for most ADHD-plagued music-nerds (guilty as charged) this is going to sound quite boring, and even for others, I think it begs the question: Does it really sound like it will grow into something good enough for you to wait around till it gets there, rather than listening to something else? I guess the answer is for each of you to find, but I'll let my grade reflect how much faith I have in it.

6

Download: 2008, See The Truth
For The Fans Of: Dredg, A Perfect Circle, Depeche Mode
Listen: myspace.com/actnoir

Release Date January 2010
Eibon Records

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