Noel’s This is the Place is the second of his three EPs due to be released in 2019. It sees him distance himself from his former work whilst retaining the core essence of his distinctive personal sound.
The lasting influence from David Holmes the producer of Noel’s third album Who Built The Moon? is visible despite Noel taking control of this EP himself while David was busy working on BBC drama Killing Eve (a perfectly valid excuse). Noel personally describes the five-track EP (including two remixes) as a “very Mancunian sounding record” and you don’t have to look far to see why.
Firstly, the title track ‘This Is The Place’ has its name borrowed from the poem Tony Walsh read in remembrance of the Manchester Arena attacks and in tribute to the spirit of Greater Manchester. The song itself has a strong resemblance to his last album, and the 90s psychedelic rock feel, hinted at by the EPs cosmic artwork comes through in this song. Starting with a strong bassline, in iconic Stone Roses style, before Noel’s unmistakable vocals come in, fleshed out with electro backing combined with strong female backing vocals.
In the second song ‘A Dream is all I need to get by’ Noel shifts away from David Holmes’ influence and back towards his roots, (much like ‘Dead In The Water’ from his last album – which was recorded during the ‘Dying of the Light’ sessions). Sounding like an upbeat B side from Oasis’ The Masterplan compilation yet slightly bittersweet with a touch of sad reflection. However, the fine-tuned production and the fact that Noel has been quoted saying he imagined it as a Smith’s B side, show and that he has moved on. Or rather wants to distance himself from his past he’s associated with.
Thirdly with ‘Evil Flower’ Noel goes back to the future – returning to his present and back to the hacienda dance vibes of his Madchester youth. With strong 90s acid house vibes blended with inspiration from Ian Brown and The Happy Mondays – this is Noel tripping deeper into the psychedelic realm – an edgy song that would feel at home in a Berlin nightclub.
The two remixes of ‘Evil Flower’ and ‘This is the Place’ demonstrative of the diversification capable with Noel’s new work as he bravely takes it into another dimension whilst retaining his core essence.
4 / 5
Image: Sour Mash Records