Noisecandy - Night & Day Cafe - 18.11.03

It's impossible to pin Noisecandy down to any identifiable pigeonhole. Try as you may it's just never going to happen. Noisecandy are a bundle of obvious contradictions. Prior to this gig we'd been chatting to Noisecandy's drummer about the genius of Jamie Cullum and soaking up the jazzy vibes of Matt & Phreds...and yet the band are the most perfect pop band you could ever lay your hands on. More than that they're a band who can on one hand support the likes of Blue and Atomic Kitten to over 20,000 people and then rock it side by side with emo rockers Funeral For A Friend. Oh yeah, and they're a Welsh band who have rejected the flag cos they're sick of all the connotations that it holds.

"Before You Go" shakes and shimmies like Edwin Collins jamming out Kylie's "Can't Get You Outta My Head" at the local indie disco. It's the ultimate Noisecandy song crystallizing everything that makes them stand out from the pack. While most bands are chasing some classic rock dream and trying to emulate the Stokes and failing every time, the Welsh quintet have rejected the media's notion of cool and replaced it with their own. Frontman Ash possesses the sort of confidence that can spill over into arrogance in some people eyes, but what the f**k does he care when he's living out his Liam Gallagher fantasy's in Manchester with Miss Wales and the girl from Speedway's number stored in quick dial on his mobile. "All I Wanted" is joking referred to as a song about bassist Chris having 10 ladies on the go. "Thank You" sounds like primetime Elvis Costello and is the sort of tune you can imagine being played at the High School Prom with Ash winking to his missus in the audience.

The trio of songs, "7teen", "Come Home To Me" and "Last Summer", which appeared on their original demos are undoubtedly the highlights but that's a case of the familiar will always rule the day. If their arms were folded for most of the set, the Manchester elite couldn't help but move to the cheesy novelty song "Mexico", a close relative of Terrorvision's "Tequila" if ever I heard one. Resplendent with the sort of cheap synth sounds that Sophie Ellis Bextor has made a career out of you can't help but get involved as Tim and Chris adorn the sombreros.

Just a few short months ago Noisecandy failed to make the In The City Shortlist due to the plain and simple fact they don't fit into any discernible scene. It could be the biggest mistake Tony Wilson and his A&R team made this year as 12 months down the line once the cynics have come round to the fact that the sheer quality of songs stands head and shoulders above their entire roster there's going to a signing frenzy that will make Noisecandy the biggest pop band to come out of this country in a long time.

Alex McCann

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