That month where we see all people with a smile from ear to ear, with so much to give and little to receive. The time when we are very happy and we always want to show the world that we are very good people because we care about them at this time of the year, even if we have ignored them for months.
It’s a time when a lot of stuff comes out to the market: from video games to music, there’s always a special corner for those Christmas classics.
We always remember Home Alone, with Macaulay Culkin stuck in his house while his parents went travelling the world without knowing anything about him, and the ever-essential NOW That’s What I Call Music compilations.
For the TikTok generation who may not know, the NOW records were effectively the most anticipated hit of Christmas. They contained all the major songs that were being released during the current year, with special editions of the most heard genres of those times. The formats? CD and Cassette.
To talk about this is to approach our old age. Already a little crooked and with a thousand and one different tones in our heads, it’s time to pull on the retro in us to take three steps forward. We’ve arrived in 2073, and it’s time to get to know Chicago. Meet Noir Disco and their debut album.
The band is formed by brothers Nolan and Carter Dickson and one of their best friends, Henry Miller. Between them, they interchange instruments, voices and the most varied musical styles, ranging from Arcade Fire, Ariel Pink, LCD Soundsystem, Klaxons, Mac DeMarco, MGMT or Tame Impala. The album is released from Brooklyn-based Terrible Records.
And the magic happens when they take off in their thoughts and reveries: because an artist is, effectively, a creative – and disco noir is no exception. They create what they want, at the time they feel like it, in whatever tone comes to mind. In fact, all this starts with the album cover: we laughed so heartily that we were curious to know what was on it.
The album has fourteen themes, separated by fifty-eight minutes.
We start with “workCHANGEchangeWORK”, in a melancholic tone, that grows inside us little by little, as we listen to all our hows and whys that we suffer every day in our routine and diffuse life, where it seems that everything we do crosses in one line. We only fixate on our being, and this is just the right song to survive in this calamitous introspection.
We come to “21st Century Hipster Man”, a hat fits our website perfectly – and which may well be a reflection on the whole world we are currently growing up in. We are trendsetters, new worlds, irreverent and, effectively, we want to be the first to reach the finish line. To this, we add a trendy, dreamy genre with a lot of personalities, which would make Arcade Fire proud with so much talent in the band. By the way, we can be hipsters enough, in 2073, to say that we discovered Noir Disco first in Portugal, yes? 😊
From the second to the fourth is a hop, where we fly between “Static – skit” and “Television”. While in the first we relived the crazy 80-90s where we actually set up TV channels and the like to have some entertainment, we have successfully synchronised the second. And it’s in a danceable, irreverent groove that we feel ourselves pulling the VHS cassette from one end to the other, trapped in a retro-futuristic world. We are completely addicted to the rhythm and synths that spontaneously hit our heads. A must.
In the same vein, with jolts ranging from more psychedelic rock to heavy electronic music, we have “Los Angeles”, “Motivation”, “Taking Off” and “Heart Pressure”. The mix is so incredible that we can’t stop listening, with an incredibly fertile imagination of what a live concert of the band will be like.
We skip 52 years. And it’s 2021 that we catch a glimpse of “2073”. Aliens? Laser beams? Eternal cosmic radiation? McDonald’s fries from 2001 still on the shelf? Maybe, but until then Noir Disco tells us the story in an esoteric format, with lots of guitars, out-of-this-world voices and an irreverent format that grows on us. A fusion between The Strokes and Arcade Fire would give this song.
Reaching another planet, we have “Pleasure Pain”, with voices from beyond that seem to be communicating with us in a dialect we know. In the midst of this, we fixate on the drummy rhythm in the background, which keeps us on our toes for the short bit of this theme.
With a technical interregnum in between, we transition from “Young Adults – skit” to “Getting Old”. A sort of car journey, where we reflect on our growth from kids to grown-ups and how we got here. We love the experience we have and all we’ve achieved, but we’d love to have the energy and free time we once had. And it’s with a rhythmic valence closer to dream-pop than indie-rock, that we fly through our thoughts, beliefs and wants.
Closing, “Take Me (Back)” and “Settin’ Sons”, the perfect combination to contemplate the talent of the Chicagoans as a whole. It’s not just effects and fireworks: it’s art, creativity and an immense passion for music. We cross genres, from the most typical of the country (country, for example) to the most intense, which can be rock or even electronic. And everything sounds good because the final set stays in our ears, and that’s the best feeling that Noir Disco brings to their listeners: something with which we can relate.
They may have noir in their name, but it’s in the clear and full of colour that they impress us. Noir Disco’s first album is electrifying, with multiple points of contact with the most varied eras and styles of music that have completed us for many years – which makes it a timeless record. A WtMM recommendation.