There’s no qualifying the brilliant dynamic sonic pulse emitted by ‘Beautiful Perhaps’, the new single from The Noise Who Runs, that we are immensely proud to premiere here in Backseat Mafia.
A pounding insistent rhythm is augmented by crystalline guitars etching a reverberated riff in the air, while the vocals are studied, cool and distant. There is a gothic undercurrent to the sound: a heart of darkness that circulates under the electronic thrum and an ominous air. This is the first single off a forthcoming album and it heralds something quite delicious.
The Noise Who Runs, a direct, literal translation of ‘O bruit qui cour’, a French phrase meaning ‘gossip’, consists of duo Ian Pickering – who is a member of the iconic UK band Sneaker Pimps – and Brazilian-born French guitarist Felipe Goes. Their collaboration has already seen the release of two EPs in 2020 (‘The First of Two Sides of a Double-headed Coin’ and ‘The Other Side of the Same Double-headed Coin’).
‘Beautiful Perhaps’ is a portrait of the blossoming of lies and misrepresentation in our culture cloaked as a person’s truth, and often devoid of compassion or empathy. Pickering says of the track:
There’s a reason that ‘Beautiful Perhaps’ is the first single and also the first song on the album. It sets the tone for everything The Noise Who Runs is about.
My truth, that’s got nothing to do with anything. People need to stop selling their truth, their subjective complaints and petty outrages. First and foremost, I was a journalist, therefore, I deal in facts and I think as a general overview of the state of society and of humanity (not just this century but eternally) – this is as honest as you’re gonna get. And it hits the nail squarely and firmly on the head. The truth isn’t pretty but it has to be accepted before anything I describe in the song can be addressed. That’s what’s beautiful – perhaps.
There is a poetic brutality in the lyrics that reflects our current climes with clinical precision:
Heaven needs water
But kindness is in short order
Just a lotus flower in the mud
Heaven sees misery
With outraged but hollow sympathy
And happiness is a single raindrop swallowed in the wretched flood
‘Beautiful Perhaps’ has the anthemic grace and stature of something by The Sisters of Mercy: it has an Arctic chill through which a lyrical, passionate heat radiates.
The single is out on 14 February through all the usual download and streaming sites but available early through the link below.
Pickering’s role as Sneaker Pimps’ lyricist is rooted in a lifelong friendship with founding member Liam Howe and Chris Corner, a friend since teenagers, who taught him to play his first song on acoustic guitar. Having written and worked with Howe and Corner throughout their teenage years on various musical projects, he became Sneaker Pimps’ lyricist shortly after they recruited Kelli Dayton for the debut album ‘Becoming X’.
Feature Photograph: Théo Vandeluc