Background/Info: Athan Maroulis will be always linked to Spahn Ranch and Black Tape For A Blue Girl, but the past few years he got involved with a new project called Noir. The album “Darkly Near” (2013) was a cool introduction to the dark-romantic pop style of the project. A few more EP’s were released while “A Pleasure” (released by the end of 2019) is the newest production. Athan Maroulis got some help from programmer/producer Erik Gustafson (Adoration Destroyed, Grendel), keyboardist/vocalist Kai Irina Hahn (The Sedona Effect), keyboardist/vocalist Demetra Songs and cello player Tracey Moth (Antidote For Annie).
Content: The title song (cf. “A Pleasure To Burn”) is a dark, bombastic outburst with a carrying chorus and featuring the charismatic vocals of Athan Maroulis. The song was remixed by Fires and Seeming.
We next get another new song (cf. “Luxury”), which has been written by Athan Maroulis, Erik Gustafson and Jean-Marc Lederman (The Weathermen ao). This song is more evasive. The last song of the EP is a “Reprise” of “Luxury”, which rather sounds as a short outro. Last, but not least you also will discover a cover version of the famous Fad Gadget song “Back To Nature”.
+ + + : Athan Maroulis remains a brilliant, charismatic singer. His unique timbre of voice injects a true spirit into the music. And the music of the title song is quite interesting for the mixing of bombast and refinement. Among the remixes I especially recommend the up-tempo edit by Fires. Covering “Back To Nature” is not that original, but the way the song has been adapted into the bombastic ‘style-noir’ is absolutely remarkable.
– – – : I didn’t experience “A Pleasure” as an absolute ‘hit’, but Noir isn’t exactly the kind of band achieving poppy-hits!
Conclusion: We can’t speak about a come-back, but “A Pleasure” is a good way to put Noir back on the map!
Best songs: “A Pleasure To Burn”, “A Pleasure To Burn – Fires Remix”, “Back To Nature – Radio Edit”.