Digital Noise Academy is an internet collaboration featuring a sextet of musicians and producers, with songs sent to each member in turn who then added their individual contributions. However detached and inhuman that prospect sounds, what we have here is a largely cohesive record where any suggestion of ego battles gives way to genuine songwriting and arrangement prowess.
‘Stop Running’ bursts onto the scene in a supercharged blast of fuzzy guitar pop. Its busy nature is reminiscent of the Canadian “supergroup” Broken Social Scene at the peak of their powers and the excellent, lively ‘Thursday Night Party’ follows suit in terms of style and is every bit its equal in terms of quality. Charlotte Martin proves to be, if you’ll excuse the excessive use of TLAs, one of DNA’s USPs. On ‘Melting Inside’ she resembles ‘Black Cherry’-era Alison Goldfrapp to the level of pastiche but she really comes into her own on the dreampop-flavoured title track and a catchy ‘Star Clusters’.
A rather less exciting second half follows as tracks such as the mid-paced ‘Old Ways’ and ‘Gone Cold’ derail the momentum somewhat and although the dub-inflected ‘What’s Left’ offers something different, it’s an experiment which doesn’t sit right with the exuberance of the rest of the album. Thankfully the finale is salvaged by the return of grungy guitars and Martin’s youthful vocal for the resurgent ‘Touch’
There may be a slight problem with Digital Noise Academy falling short of having a true identity and it must be said they do a very convincing job of sounding like other bands. However, with a pool of obvious talent at their disposal, this is an extremely worthwhile project characterised by some great indie-centric pop songs.
Broken Social Scene, Stars