The Top 50 Albums of Year 2010… #09. NOBLESSE OBLIGE “Malady”
09. NOBLESSE OBLIGE “Malady”
Although you may not have heard of them (and if you have, chances are you know them by their first single, the controversial/brilliant 2004 jam about incest, “Daddy”), in 2010 Noblesse Oblige, somewhat of a cabaret pop act, unleashed – to little fanfare (and, from what I gathered, absolutely no major blog-love) – their third full length record, a concept album that deals with the topic of the occult. With influences drawn from filmmaker Kenneth Anger, poet Christina Rosetti and occultist Aleister Crowley, “Malady” is Oblige’s most confident and cohesive record, one that manages to weed out the teething problems they’d encountered with their first two. It’s a more refined, well thought out and cleverly crafted ensemble of music – their first two albums harbour a lot of different ideas that sometimes just didn’t work, but on Malady, there’s this one basic idea that the music flows around and is married very nicely with modern electronica and – what appears to be – a love of the soundtracks to 1950′s Western movies.
From the stunning “The Great Electrifier”, a deeply momentus track with with galloping riffs and gorgeous vocal-coos, to the urgency of record breaker “Cracks On The Wall”, with its enchanting verses, static chorus and surprisingly chaotic finish – the moment Malady becomes a five-star album – it’s easy to recognise after just one listen that a lot of time, hard work and thoroughly-thought-out effort was placed into the making of this record.
Other charmers on this gracefully-dark album include the smokey “Equinox”, the tribal “May They Come With Spears”, psychotic but oh-so-right “Zanzibar”, and the eerie acoustics of “Lady With The Kazoo.”
It’s a shame that an album as stunningly executed as “Malady” was barely recognised by the masses, or even alternative markets – it has everything that most albums from that genre of 2010 didn’t have; clever pop hooks, crazy album-tracks, an actual ‘alternative’ feel (whatever that word even means any more), and a real identity as artists surfacing beyond the controversy of their first single. If they get to make a fourth album, it’s going to be quite the grand affair.