The Noisettes, Bar Academy, Birmingham <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Having previously offered early exposure to the likes of Regina Spektor, The Mystery Jets and The Subways, Transgressive Records is fast becoming one of the nation's most credible cultivators of left-field musical talent, and, like all of history's great indie labels, it already boasts a group of acolytes who take their logo to be an unofficial guarantee of quality.

Curious, isn't it? Such brand loyalty is the kind of thing that all big consumer companies would die for, and yet in the music industry, it's usually the smallest and shabbiest names that have the most fervent followings. After all, there can't be many music fans who bought a CD solely on the strength of its being released on Sony BMG.

The latest band to embark on Transgressive's route to recognition are the London three-piece the Noisettes, who, despite having only one release to their name - a low-key EP, Three Moods of the Noisettes, that came out last spring - are already experiencing the effect of such highly esteemed endorsement, if tonight's surprisingly large crowd is anything to go by. It's really nothing more than what the Noisettes' viciously vibrant rock'n'roll onslaught warrants, and while they are some way short of being the finished article, the raw materials are firmly in place - and raw is exactly what they are.

Coming across as a more charismatic incarnation of Karen O, lead singer in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with the musical soul of Billie Holiday flowing through her body, the front woman, Shingai Shoniwa, takes only a few moments to establish herself as the focal point of the band. Shoniwa is dark, sultry and energetic and exudes the kind of self-assured sassiness that probably borders on being illegal in some parts of the world.

That confidence is mirrored in her extraordinary voice, which veers from gorgeous swoons to guttural screams, and back again, during the bluesy-stomp of the band's new single, "Iwe". Occasionally, she straps on a bass or a second guitar and adds to the primal cacophony brewed up by the main guitarist, Dan Smith, and the hilariously hirsute drummer Jamie Morrison. But Shoniwa is undoubtedly at her most captivating when prowling the stage and freed of those instrumental shackles.

The feeling of being impressed more by the power of the sound that they make rather than the quality of the songs is something that niggles, and makes the Noisettes' set a little less enjoyable than it should be.

But that imbalance is likely to change in the not-too-distant future: in particular, the infectious, White Stripes swing of "Don't Give up" ends the night suggesting that the trio's knack for creating catchy hooks will soon match their already established talent for producing pummelling blasts of noise. "We'll be back soon - you can't stop us," Shoniwa says as she leaves the stage. Rarely has a tongue-in-cheek remark been so believable.

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