Noosa – Wonderland (album) (self-released)
Wonderland is the debut full length album from Long Island, New York singer/songwriter Noosa.
Noosa adopted her name after visiting the Australian surf town of the same name where she was also inspired to write her first song. “It sort of just clicked in that one moment, in that one little town. I could see my life coming together in a way I pictured, but never deemed possible. Fantasy seemed tangible and I just knew that songwriting would be my way of translating my spirit to the world”, she says.
Her song Mirrors in the Moonlight was passed along to fellow New Yorker, producer/songwriter Mickey Valen, who transformed it into the first single and catalyst, Fear of Love. Upon releasing track online, the song went to #1 on Hype Machine’s most popular chart almost instantly, making it the first of many. The proceeding self-titled EP resulted in over 9 million online plays – all this, unaided by a label.
With that kind of success, Noosa, understandably, has released Wonderland on her own label.
The debut full length consists of 9 tracks and 36 minutes of immaculately-produced, sugary synthpop. Think Say Lou Lou mixed with Foxes and you’re not far off. Noosa herself describes the music as “fairy-pop”, which is quite an accurate description, really.
Though Mickey Valen’s stunning production work already has dance tendencies giving it an appeal like that of Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon, you can just hear the ton of remixes that will inevitably follow.
Moody, mid-tempo opener Love immediately sets the tone of the record with its shiny, bright, and airy synth-driven soundscapes, which are then paired with Noosa’s soft, breathy vocals. The upbeat and uplifting Wildfire follows and is quite simply an impeccably-crafted summer synthpop tune. Begin Again continues the summery glow and features one of the strongest hooks tracks on the record.
The inspiration for the record comes from Noosa’s long desired departure from New York and fascination with life’s possibilities on the west coast. Thus, there is an undeniable fantasy-like dreaminess to the record.
Like Foxes debut record (Glorious) released earlier this month, Wonderland achieves exactly what it set out to do and that is to sculpt shiny, pop tunes. With that said, the moody trio of tracks beginning Golden Ones, followed by the excellent Clocktower and the piano-driven Walk On By – the latter showing hints of Lana Del Rey – offer a little more weight and intrigue. Taking a step further, while undeniable pop, Noosa doesn’t always go straight for the jugular. The melodies rarely explode nor make leaps in dynamic. Take for example the upbeat, Ladyhawke-esque Forest Lane where the melodies are delivered with slight nonchalance.
As if saving the best for (second) last, Stranger is an emotive and alluring synthpop number coloured lovingly with lush strings, and epitomizes Wonderland as a whole. So, it’s rather odd that the record ends with the slightly hipster-ish, guitar-driven Sail, which – while ending the album on a happy note – breaks the dream-like atmosphere of the previous 8 tracks with its production and introduction of summery guitar chords. Sail also hints at another possible direction Noosa’s music could go in the future.
Wonderland is ridiculously perfect in its execution and sits perfectly alongside its contemporaries. In fact, we’ll be downright shocked if record is not a massive success on every level – radio and beyond.
Wonderland was released on 20 May, 2014 is available via iTunes now.
Listen to Stranger below:
Listen to Wildfire below: