N.O.A.H’s new single “Shine” both honours the band’s influences and takes root in the times we are living in today.
Lifelong friends Ryan Hill (lead vocalists and guitarist), Adam Rooney (bass guitarist), and Ronan Hynes (Drummer) re-formed N.O.A.H from a previous project at the beginning of 2020. The band’s name was taken from the biblical story of Noah’s Ark symbolizing new beginnings and, for the past 7 months, the band has been in quarantine together writing, rehearsing, and recording their new music.
As soon as “Shine” started there was an overwhelming sense of excitement and adrenaline mixed with an underlying sense of uncertainty and longing. Hill’s splashy guitar sounds, and Hynes’ drumming immediately pulled me in with a rhythm and sound that was both upbeat and nostalgically reverent. I was caught between wanting to bob my head back and forth, and sitting back, closing my eyes, and just letting the music in.
While Rooney’s Bass playing might appear, at first listen, to sit further back in the mix than the other instruments, his playing reminiscent of Mark Stoermer in the song “Mr. Brightside”, lays down the rhythmic foundation of the track allowing Hynes’ drum parts to stand out more in the mix. I read on N.O.A.H’s site that all three friends share a mutual admiration for acts like Kings of Leon, U2, The Killers, and I could definitely feel The Killers’ influence especially in the relationship between the drumming and bass playing in “Shine”.
Hill’s vocals come in at 0:23 into the track with a captivating vocal delivery. The deep resonant tone and pronunciation of his words are very reminiscent of Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr. However, the power and anthemic tones that Hill achieves on the soaring high notes in the chorus have a cleaner Caleb Followill of Kings Of Leon sound to it. All in all, I was very impressed with his vocal performance and delivery.
What struck me the most about this song was how N.O.A.H mixed pop music elements from the past with modern pop music to enhance the emotional experience of listening to their latest single. The synth/bass pulse that dominates most of the verses and the reverb/delay placed on the vocal parts give the song a much more modern pop feel. Then the pre-chorus hits and Kings Of Leon / Killersesque guitar lines mixed with a steady front of the mix drum track give the modern pop elements a slightly more classic band flavour. I thought it was very clever how N.O.A.H incorporated elements of their influences to balance out the modern pop intimacy in the song and push the track into more anthemic realms. The delay/reverb effect placed on Hill’s main vocal in the pre-chorus and chorus is a brilliant addition to the song as well. When he pushes his voice into the upper register underneath those effects it creates a bit of distortion on the vocal and drives home the emotional, anthemic rise in the song.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to N.O.A.H’s new song “Shine” and I look forward to hearing more from the band in the near future.