Album Review: Noi!se – “The Scars We Hide”

With a bevy of 7” singles, EP’s and a compilation album under their belts, not to mention their almost ceaseless touring schedule, it’s hard to believe that The Scars We Hide is Noi!se’s first proper full length. The Seattle (Tacoma) foursome have made a mighty imprint on the punk scene the past few years considering they’re more or less just getting started. With loyal fans among their peers as well as in the general public, Noi!se is fast becoming one of the more exciting bands in the scene to keep an eye on.

The Scars We Hide is twelve songs of blistering punk rock power with a sharp melodic sensibility and some of their tightest arrangements we’ve heard from the boys thus far.

This band has established a precedent of beginning their releases in a big way. One of Noi!se’s best songs, ‘Rising Tide’, kicks off the EP of the same name, while another one of their best songs, ‘Idle Action’, kicks off the compilation release Pushing On, from 2012. In the same way, The Scars We Hide’s first song, ‘Rank and File’ is another of the band’s best compositions, with a simple bass line feeding into a frenzy of crushing guitars (both rhythm and lead), before (vocalist/bassist) Matt’s easily identifiable vocals introduce us to the record. 
The song features the bands trademark gang vocal’d chorus’ and blistering guitar breaks.

This is a blueprint the band follow throughout the album, keeping things at an absolutely breakneck pace, with Matt and (guitarist/vocalist) Nate trading verses back and forth, with each succeeding delivery more aggressively impassioned than the last.

Drummer Kenny and lead guitarist Jesse round out the band nicely, not only with the addition of their voices to the fat, delicious chorus’, but with their raw talent. The drumming is particularly impressive on tracks like ‘Silenced Voices’, an anthemic rave up that makes one want to find the nearest mosh pit and start slamming bodies. As well as closing track ‘The Future’s Warning’. Take it from someone who hit skins in a punk band years ago, it isn’t always an easy genre to drum to. Jesse’s guitar is evident and front and centre in nearly every track on Scars, with particularly memorable appearances in the impossibly catchy ‘Pawn in the Game’ and the crusher ‘So I Drift Away’.

Elsewhere, ‘How We Made It Through’ is a great song about coming through the shit, living to tell the tale and rather than letting it get the best of you, choosing instead to craft a more meaningful existence from it. While ‘Statistics’ impressively charges from nail gun Agnostic Front-like hardcore in its verses to catchy The Business-like street punk in its chorus’.

Street Punk/Oi! music isn’t the most inventive subgenre in punk rock, but it is among the most exciting. A genre born in the streets of the U.K., it has had a steady and ever growing batch of impressive North American bands flying its flag since the 80’s. Noi!se impressively straddles the line between being a band that sound like the best of classic 80’s Oi! music, mixed with the sensibilities and gritty sheen of today’s street punk elite. They’re hands down one of the best bands in punk rock right now and The Scars We Hide is not only their finest moment, but may be the best punk rock record of 2014 so far. A record my needle will be licking the grooves of on an almost consistent basis for the foreseeable future.

Noi!se is a band that makes me want to drop everything and start a punk band of my own again. And what higher praise can you give a group than that?

5/5 Stars

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