Shy Child | Noise Won’t Stop
Most Likely To: make you kick it like a kick drum.
As the electro-rock duo Shy Child, Brooklynites Nate Smith and Pete Cafarella have been working live audiences into dance frenzies since 2000. It wasn’t until 2007, when they released “Hold the Phone” as a single in the UK, that they attracted the attention of Stella McCartney, which led to a televised performance of Shy Child playing “Hold the Phone” as the backdrop for a group of models playing musical chairs.
Noise Won’t Stop is Shy Child’s third full-length release, but their first for Kill Rock Stars. “Hold the Phone,” “Kick Drum,” and “Noise Won’t Stop” form the core of the band’s signature sound: a mix of Smith’s intense drum beats synced with Cafarella’s raspy vocals, all swirling in a vortex of keytar. (You say guibord, I say keytar — it’s still funny.) While Shy Child favors blending electronic and rock elements à la the Rapture or Professor Murder, there’s always room for a surprise as when “Hold the Phone” ends with a saxophone sample that could have been plucked from a Spandau Ballet record.
Rather than using programmed sequences, Smith plays live drums on all of the songs, so even though Shy Child lacks guitar or bass they still avoid sounding too synthetic. “Summer,” which was also released as a single in the UK last year, is an infectious pop song that stands apart from the style of the rest of the CD. “What’s it Feel Like” is more atmospheric, adding ethereal female backing vocals and drawing on Air’s Moon Safari for inspiration, even including a spoken word coda in Italian.
While Noise Won’t Stop is solid, there are a few songs that sound like b-sides. “Angels of Mercy” and “Cause and Effect” are too generic. In spite of these few weak spots, Shy Child makes music that’s as at home on the dance floor as it on the treadmill, and it’s well worth checking out next time you need some noise that won’t stop.
Listen to “Astronaut” from Shy Child’s Noise Won’t Stop: