And so Salim Nourallah returns with an album of decidedly softer tunes and a slightly darker message. The solo artist recorded Beautiful Noise is his own studio, Pleasantry Lane, in late 2004 and it seems that some problems with his p/r company have prevented this release from receiving the word of mouth that it ought to have enjoyed. Unlike his brother Faris (who released the solid King of Sweden earlier this year), Salim remains a good deal more introspective with his work and it is evident in his sound. These arrangements are low key and his voice tip toes over thin ice for the most part, and this is a testament to Nourallah’s ability to take on different subject matter within different sounds when such a change is needed.
Take opener “The Beautiful Noise” for instance. A little different from the work he has done with his brother, not to mention some of the other projects that he has been involved with. It begins with light strumming and Nourallah singing “we start out in this life in paradise / we only know the joy / the beautiful noise.” From here it’s quite obvious that there are some shadier themes to be uncovered (“the world is full of people who want to hurt you”). There are some brighter moments though. During the lighthearted beautiful pop of “Montreal” Nourallah sings “spinning records on the bus / Montreal ahead of us.” “The Apartment” and “First Love” bring things back down again. The former is a recollection of times spent with an ex while looking at photographs, the later about first loves, death and wedding days. Apparently Nourallah’s three year old son had to go through a very serious operation, and this time of high tension is what perhaps gives this album a darker bent.
“Life in a Split Second” comes back to the melodic theme of “The Beautiful Noise.” It seems to encapsulate the record perfectly. Nourallah spends time going over the little things and the grey areas of our thoughts and fears throughout the course of the album. The album is sort of cyclical as the strings quiver in and out nearing the end of the album, and things could almost start all over again. With Beautiful Noise Salim has cemented his place among the finer young musicians in our musical sphere.
- Andrew Iliadis