The Grownup Noise: This Time with Feeling

[By Rachel McFarland]

As a native Bostonian transplanted to LA, I’m pretty proud of my fine city’s great contributions to music. The world can thank Boston for music spanning just about every genre – from New Edition to Boston and James Taylor to Aerosmith, we’ve got it pretty well covered. But even with all of the acts that Boston has spawned, “indie pop Americana” isn’t a genre where a lot of Boston acts come to mind. Thankfully, we can claim The Grownup Noise, a folk band with a pop heart and a melodic soul.

The Grownup Noise has released two albums to date –they are currently working on their third – with 2011’s “This Time With Feeling” as their most recent release. It’s an album that intertwines their vocals and instrumentation into an environment of upbeat, catchy tunes. But don’t let the upbeat nature fool you- on some tracks there is an ever-present melancholic undertone, which makes for an interesting musical juxtaposition on each track. Despite the upbeat tempos this melancholic undertone comes through in the melodies and through heavier tones in the lyrics. The lyrics are written like poetry, with songs like the standout “Carnival” telling a vivid story.

“Carnival” is a tune with a galloping beat and a solid bass line. There are pleasing, simple melodies throughout accompanied by quick and ambling tempos. It’s the type of music that would fit equally as well in a Maine cabin or on a California coastal roadtrip soundtrack. Their sunny tempo shines through on most of the album, with some variation on tracks like “Six Foot Solemn Oath” and “Gone Is A Four Letter Word.” Aside from being a fantastic song title, “Gone Is A Four Letter Word” is an 8-minute long opus where the quick tempos are replaced momentarily with a slower groove. In the last few minutes, the tempo picks up again culminating with the gentle, repeated begging lyrics, “just please don’t end it here.”

“So It Goes” is a track that illustrates all of their unique combinations. It starts off more subdued, with the plucky guitar carrying a wistful melody that would make fellow Bostonian James Taylor proud. As it picks up, the addition of strings supports the guitar, building the song up until it culminates with more layers and a pop feel that encapsulates the feel of the whole album.

Their self-titled debut album from 2007 displayed more electric rock styles. “This Time With Feeling” focuses more on a folk rock vibe, but without losing the pop sensibilities of the first album. It’s a well-produced album that shows some growth from their first album, leaving the door wide open for their upcoming third effort.

The Grownup Noise seem to revel in the blending of instruments, of voices intermingling but separate, and of storytelling that creates a vivid imagery in their songs. While they are less folk inclined than bands like The Head and The Heart, The Avett Brothers, or The Decemberists, there is also a little bit of each of these bands in their music. By keeping their folk heart and combining it with pop melodies and genuine lyrics, The Grownup Noise have created their own modern version of traditional genres.

The Grownup Noise are currently touring the west coast in preparation for their upcoming album, and will be playing at The Silverlake Lounge on August 8th. ~



8/5: Oakland, CA @ The Night Light

8/6: San Francisco, CA @ Hotel Utah

8/7: San Diego , CA @ Tin Can

8/8: Los Angeles, CA @ Silverlake Lounge

8/16: Brooklyn, NY @ Union Hall