Noisettes, Vine, Leeds

Vine, Leeds

Noisettes will give the people who think up labels and genres sleepless nights. The trio have the thrust of Nirvana, the sonic effects of My Bloody Valentine, the stripped down feminist-funk of the Au Pairs and the turbulent assault of early Led Zeppelin, plus all manner of curious prog and jazz tangents.

More bafflingly - but thrillingly - these are all in evidence in the first couple of numbers. They'd drop jaws as an instrumental trio, but the biggest curveball comes from bassist-frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa. A striking warrior amalgam of Grace Jones and Skunk Anansie's Skin, with a hairstyle that looks like it was cultivated in a greenhouse rather than a hairdressers, her vocal chords match the crazed kaleidoscopic fusion of the music. She howls like Siouxsie, she purrs like Björk. she touches the ceiling and yelps like a dog.

This all-out assault on the senses has wowed audiences on dates with Bloc Party, which explains a venue so crowded that often Shoniwa's green and black barnet is all that's visible. Her words, however, leap from the chaos: "You never got close to me, I have no soul you see," she cries, before turning the song on its head with a wounded "I'm not happy because you never get close to me." These are songs of desperation, alienation, confusion and determination, not least when she dedicates one attack to "Girls whose boyfriends are giving them gyp." The gig is given a curious comedy diversion when the audience is infiltrated by a romantic Only Fools and Horses type flower-seller who must have wondered what he had wandered into. But by this point, the aural drama onstage has become a bit samey, a bit too Skunk Anansie. Noisettes will make a big impact this year; their next trick must be sustaining it on stage for longer than 30 minutes.

· At Cardiff Iforbach, tonight (box office: 029-202 32199) and touring.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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