Katie Noonan & The Captains
Emperor’s Box

Written by Jenny Meagher

Former front-woman of late 90’s Brisbane group George, Katie Noonan has been flying solo musically for approximately six years. Her current album has overtones of the harrowing pain and versatile rhythms spun in great tracks like ‘Special Ones’ and ‘Spawn’, which were symptomatic of George’s signature style. However, Katie Noonan’s soprano falsetto is pretty much a signature style in itself.

There are some interesting experiments going on in the background on this album, like ‘Emperor’s Box’, which is distinct, unexpected and fresh. ‘Sweet One’ delivers what sounds like oriental cymbals and a fiddle. ‘Cotton Wool’ presents glockenspiel sounding trills, as well as sharp notes to give it an unpredictable quality.

These softly spoken and minimalist instrumentals are delivered by not only The Captains, but a string quartet, The Australian Chamber Orchestra and four horn players that collectively texture tracks like ‘Radar’, and ‘After The Rain’.

If that wasn’t enough collaboration for you, fellow solo artists like Josh Pyke, Sia and Thirsty Merc bass player, Phil Stack have also contributed to tracks on this album. These include ‘Cotton Wool’, ‘Page One’ and ‘Sweet One’. Tim Finn also assists with the composition of ‘Never Know Your Luck’.

The pleasant thing about Katie’s compositions is that they are all interesting and substantially individualistic. You never feel like you’ve hit the repeat button from a previous track. She can play it soft like a coo, or loud like an opera singer depending on the intention of the track. I advise if you are a fan of her already, then this won’t disappoint, just be prepared for the mixed bag of music that will bellow out of your headphones.

In an interview on her Myspace page Katie shares her feelings about this album: “I haven’t felt this positive about my music since the George days… I feel like I have finally found the right musical partners to make my music with again…” It sure feels that way.

Stand out tracks were undeniably ‘Space Between’, ‘Page One’ and ‘After The Rain’.

Emperor’s Box is out now through Sony/BMG. Find it on iTunes.

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