Magazine article The New Yorker

THE SHONIWA SHOW; Pop Notes

Magazine article The New Yorker

THE SHONIWA SHOW; Pop Notes

Article excerpt

Times Square, a source of unembarrassed endorsement, does not have a billboard for the London band Noisettes. This is odd, because Noisettes are what billboards were invented to announce: improbably big entertainment. If you can see Noisettes during their American tour, which runs through April, do so. If you can't, buy their debut album, "What's the Time Mr. Wolf?" (Universal), a smart, relentlessly exuberant thirty-eight-minute demonstration of chutzpah and musicianship, despite the band's affinity with the fizzy amateur energy of punk.

The twenty-six-year-old singer Shingai Shoniwa, the daughter of a single mother from Zimbabwe, studied circus skills at a London youth club as a teen-ager, and performed briefly in an obscure rock band called Sonarfly with her Noisettes songwriting partner, the guitarist Dan Smith. Shoniwa looks like an African supermodel, and has a penchant for wearing face paint and fur hats. Onstage, she entirely ignores the performance tendencies of indie rock: slouch, stand still, lean, and hop, if pressed. …

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