Noise Annoys: Guiding light

Your new-look Noise Annoys has words on the new EP from Buí and the debut album from Reevah...

Reevah's debut album Daylight Savings is released this week. Picture by Lucy Lens
Reevah's debut album Daylight Savings is released this week. Picture by Lucy Lens

EXCITING times here at Noise Annoys Towers: this is the first 'new look' column since the big Irish News redesign, the latest of several 'refreshes' for the physical paper (ask your dad) dating all the way back to the early days of Noise Annoys, when it had no grey hairs and everything was mostly still in black and white on these pages – which, of course, existed only in the newsprint-based realm.

Just to prove we won't be forgetting our analogue roots in this colourful, white space-loving, digital-first age, let's kick-off this exciting new era with a couple of songs recorded entirely on 'obsolete' late-20th century technology.

:: Buí – Drawing / Fears Not Worth Fearing (singles, self-released)

NOISE Annoys favourites Buí are back in the recording game after an extended period of quiet stretching back to last year's excellent Talking To The Walls EP on Analogue Catalogue Records.

The Josh Healy-led Belfast indie rock collective have a brand new EP on the way at the end of the month – October 25, to be exact – two-thirds of which has already been released as standalone tracks, as is the modern way of things.

Our first taste of said release came back in August with Fears Not Worth Fearing, a melancholic synth 'n' strumming slowie set to a busy electronic backbeat. It's kind of a downer, with Josh's just about audible lyrics hinting at inner turmoil and frustration – but, as ever with Buí, a vibe of bruised defiance cuts through in the end to make the whole thing feel more cathartic than catastrophic.

The band's current single, Drawing – the title track of the EP, which takes its title from the immediately evocative opening line "Drawing round my hands, have they always been shaped like this?" – is another, slightly more decipherable slice of introspection-fuelled existentialist melancholia, hewn from acoustic guitar, bass guitar and subtle synth swells and which ends abruptly just as you're getting into it.

As mentioned, these tunes were recorded the old fashioned way, on a cassette-based (again, ask your dad) four track recorder. This used to be the kind of desirable, annoyingly expensive musical gear that fledgling bands would beg, borrow and steal to get hold of in the days before the digital recording revolution.

Now, they're much more affordable on the second-hand market (though finding one in good working order can be a challenge), and Buí have just proved that the good old fashioned four track can still achieve results that sound just as good as new-fangled 'zeros and ones'-based recording methods.

Listen for yourselves at bui43.bandcamp.com, where you can now pre-order the Drawing EP on limited edition cassette and CD for a mere £10. Both formats come with four extra tracks exclusive to the physical release, which means you really should consider kicking it old school.

Up with this sort of thing.

:: Reevah – Daylight Savings (album, Bloom Records)

IT'S not long now 'til the clocks go back, ushering in the long, dark winter evenings that pretty much everyone hates. While Derry's Reevah – AKA Aoife Boyle – may have named her long-awaited debut album after this infernal, farming-friendly tradition, don't be put off: it's much less of a bummer to listen to.

In fact, Daylight Savings is a fine collection of heartfelt synthpop-informed tunes that will probably make the winter blues a bit more bearable for anyone who has them in their ears.

Showcasing Aoife's seductive, easy-on-the ear vocals, the album has already spawned a trio of singles: notably, the earwormy Call Me Up, which rages against the patriarchy in the form of slinky, subversive, anthemic brass-tinged bop that's ripe for radio play and which is currently nominated for two NI Music Prizes, Best Single and Best Video.

Time To Breathe is a similarly radio-friendly reminder to try to be 'in the moment' and appreciate all that you have once in a while, for the sake of your own sanity – "Spend the time that you have with the people you love, because life is short and the journey is long", Aoife croons – while Without You offered listeners a slice of post-break-up self-assessment set to pulsing electro-discopop.

If you liked those, there's a very good chance you will be into the album proper, which features another trio of shoe-ins for future singles in the form of the emotive, life-after-breakup 80s-pop informed floor-filler Without You, the rockier, 'you go, girl' charms of Take Comfort and Fear is a Four Letter Word, which broods, stomps and builds its way to the dancefloor in a woozy, Florence-esque manner.

However, while the overall vibe of the record is positive and upbeat, Aoife is not afraid to reveal her vulnerable side on the likes of its playful, pop/rocky title track – "I'm only human, I don't want to be the one to hold it down all the time / yeah, I can get through this, just like I tell myself every f***ing night" – and the gentle, introspection-tinged ballad Golden, a love song on which anxiety and self-doubt face off against the beauty of the here and now.

Happily, it's the latter which wins the day.

The swirling, trumpet-tinged Headlights has its anthemic roots in an internal battle just to feel adequate, Lullaby is a deceptively pretty, entertainingly barbed ode to an unnamed patroniser, while the lush synth balladry of Make or Break finds Aoife dreaming of taking charge of better days ahead, bringing her debut album to a fittingly optimistic and empowered climax.

"My debut album Daylight Savings is my proudest work to date," she explains in the press notes which accompany the record.

"This body of work delivers a powerful message, reflecting themes of positivity, change and the power of women. Exploring life and all of its highs and lows with a bold but reflective message that we need to appreciate and celebrate, as our time here is delicate and fleeting."

Hard to argue with any of that, really.

All that remains is to advise you to stream/buy Daylight Savings now via reevah.bandcamp.com and catch Reevah live on October 13, supporting Snow Patrol at their BBC Introducing Live show at The Limelight, Belfast, and/or on her own album tour proper on November 1 at The Cellar in the Workman's Club, Dublin, November 2 at The Empire in Belfast and November 3 at St Columb's Hall in Derry.

Oh, and most importantly: don't forget the clocks go back on October 29.