Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Noiseworks - Noiseworks
Back in the late eighties an Australian friend of mine, whom I've sadly lost touch with since, sent me a cassette of a Sydney-based band. It was their self-titled debut and the band in question was Noiseworks. At this point in time, this five-piece were completely unknown to me and based off of the artwork, a photo of the band against a white backdrop with the logo above, I had no clue what to expect. However, once the music started I was sold - hook, line and sinker!
Australian rock and pop of the eighties had a particular sound. Can't honestly describe it in words but to this day that sound is very identifiable in a good way. And Noiseworks are not exempt of this. They deftly embrace their heritage while going full tilt with awesome hooks, great lyrics and a lot of emotion. What baffles me is that the guys were labeled a pub rock band. Maybe that was the case in their infant years but ‘Noiseworks’ is anything but. Then again, we all look at things differently.
Several permeating features throughout ‘Noiseworks’ are, amongst other things, the prominent bass guitar. It keeps the rhythm but at the same time goes off on it’s own excursions, which gives the music more substance. The guitar tone is airy, free and floating both in the riffs and the lead work. And the way it tag teams with the keyboard is refreshing. Almost like a twin-axe attack. Lastly, Jon Stevens’ voice is something else. Beautiful, yet desperate with great range which brings out the meaning in the lyrics perfectly.
This is a great debut album through and through with no low points at all. Still, as always, I find some tracks that stands out more than the others. ‘Burning Feeling’ is a mid-tempo rocker with hooks to kill about yearning for an adrenaline rush no matter what. A heartfelt plea for forgiveness and redemption ‘Take Me Back’ hits home with anyone who’s lost someone and it’s irreversible, forever. ‘No Lies’ picks up the pace as the band ponders the devious ways of an ex-partner who’s pulls out all the stops to reel you back into a bad relationship. ‘River Of Tears’ tells the tale of finding yourself while watching others, maybe a loved one, remain in limbo not wanting to change. ‘Welcome To The World’ is a song telling two sides of the coin. One child is born into a nice safe world being fed from a golden spoon, while another is born to fight. Stand up and make a difference wherever you come from.
Despite not having released any studio albums since ‘Love vs. Money’ in 1991, Noiseworks have been active on and off with various old and new members. The latest I heard the ‘Noiseworks’ lineup was back and recorded an album slated for a 2016 release but as far as I know that wax is still locked up in a vault somewhere.
In between all this bassist Balbi and keyboardist Stanley formed the semi-successful Electric Hippies before working with David Bowie, Tom Jones and Michael Hutchence(Balbi) and Beck, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow and Prince(Stanley). Singer Jon Stevens has, besides a long solo career, worked with INXS and Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as forming the music collective The Dead Daisies, whom he no longer performs with.