‘The Noise Made By People’ is an album that oozes escapism; from the word go, it seems to drift hazily out of a daydream, sounding both vaguely familiar and alien. While you can tell that the band knee-deep in experimental psychedelica and dreamy 60’s pop, they sound like none of the above; in fact they’re one of the true musical anomalies of the last ten years. Whirring keyboards, gentle rhythm guitars, lazy-but-tight drums and wistful vocals; I know you must have some picture of what it might sound like but I guarantee you’re wrong. Every song seems to have its own character; the lonely, but optimistic and hypnotic ‘Echo’s Answer’ sounds like watching a sunrise through a dirty airport window; the uneasily imperfect relationship depicted in ‘Papercuts’ swings between grateful and dissatisfied whereas the glorious ‘Come On Let’s Go’ quietly seethes with reckless excitement. The first few times you hear it you notice the sound, but after a while you notice the finer touches; the melodies you had never noticed. It always seems as if you didn’t get the full picture, so you play it over and over until you do. It also seems to weave its own time period, somewhere between a vibrant past and a luminous, but quiet and sterile future.
‘The Noise Made By People’ doesn’t seem to try to defy convention, but it does it anyway. It sounds neither happy, nor sad, but always deeply thoughtful; the instruments quietly intermingle to create a distant, otherworldly and richly detailed texture on which Trish Keenan sings over it as if she’s only half-listening to the band. It’s a lush, illustrative sound that evokes images of watching old films in dusty cinemas or sleeping in the aisles of an empty supermarket. It’s a bleary-eyed wander through a brightly-lit city on buses and trains at 3AM. Not only does it take you out of yourself, it also makes your mundane surroundings seem far more bearable. It’s cinematic, laser-guided pop music that, nearly ten years on, still sounds peerless.
Listen to this: in an airport.
Key track: Come On Let’s Go