Noija – Colorblind
Release Date: 20th October
Colorblind is the debut album from Swedish quartet Noija. Consisting of 11 tracks it is sonically quite wide in its scope veering between anthemic riffs and heavy, guttural shouts to stripped back almost minimalist soundscapes built around single notes and intricate drums. The production of the record is clearly very ambitious and there are some really interesting noises going on.
However, while the interludes and accompanying parts are unexpected at times, the songs are still clearly structured. Most are constructed around the central tenet of quieter, relatively sparse and subdued sections building into meatier more powerful choruses. The album kicks off with Unknown, which Noija have recently released a video for. The moody introverted focus of the song is accompanied nicely by the simple yet effective visuals. As a track it is fairly representative of the rest of the album’s overall sound. If you like that then chances are you’ll find much more to whet your appetite across Colorblind.
A number of moments in the album showcase the band’s inventiveness and willingness to experiment with their sound. One such point is in the opening bars of Find the Sound which for me conjured up an image of old arcade game bleeps. It is a simple refrain but it works and is returned to later in the song to good effect. A touch from the Sun is another good example, beginning with a distorted echoed shout and progressing with an almost glitchy quality to the music. It is also bolstered by the inclusion of a choral element. There is even a discernible air of the influence of Trap in terms of the hi-hat rhythms, apparent particularly on Just Hold Your Breath. The slight discordance that ushers in Wallflower is also striking, as is the underpinning beat which shifts from the more thrashy opening bars to the use of triplets and offbeats to great effect.
Lyrically the band’s subject matter consists of reflections on deterioration of relationships, the fragility of mental health, with issues of self worth and addiction all touched upon. The style of the vocals can at times come across as a little whiny. However where the lead singer lets rip and the voice becomes a touch more urgent and hoarse there is some force in the delivery.
The passion that went into Colorblind is evident and the musicianship is not in question. At times the songs do linger a little too long on the slower aspects which detracts from the flow of the record somewhat. Noija definitely have potential to do well and I’m sure that their innovative approach will appeal to many, but for me it was more a case of interest in parts than overall enjoyment.
Recommended Track: Wallflower