Boston's The Grownup Noise are anything but noisy. For them, maturity means a contemplative focus of sound. They're a band that revels in the beauty of a simple melody delivered with minimal enhancement for maximum emotional effect—it's grown-up in its precision.
On Shall We?, The Grownup Noise's latest release (an EP), lead vocalist and guitarist Paul Hansen's poetic voice and crystalline piano plinks are the first sounds. Once the band kicks in—
bass, drums, guitar, keyboards and cello—only one or two instruments at a time take the lead, showing time and time again how The Grownup Noise can create rocking energy out of only a handful of instruments.
On "Artist Type," the keyboards take center stage. "When beauty is gone, will you come back to me?" asks Hansen, his pleading echoed by his driving piano. On "Six Foot Solemn Oath," the focus is on the vocals, with Katie Franich adding vocal responses and cello as support. Even on "Outside," one of the only guitar-dominant songs on the EP, the guitar is still mostly there to buoy Hansen's flawless lyrical deliveries. "I'm more grown-up than I can take," Hansen laments, while his electric guitar's perfect balance of abandon and control reveals the opposite.
That's all the song is—Hansen and his guitar. But sometimes, that's all The Grownup Noise needs to make their point.