I Am Noonie Bao by Noonie Bao

I Am Noonie Bao by Noonie Bao


In many ways, Sweden is the locomotive that drives innovation in the continental pop scene. Even though Europop has been overshadowed somewhat by Balkan and Mediterranean “talent” in recent years, Stockholm still remains the capital of contemporary trance-oriented pop. And since traditional dancepop has finally attained commercialization beyond recognition across the Atlantic, an interesting undercurrent is brewing in the land that produced ABBA and Roxette.


Noonie Bao is the latest in a new line of sensible, grounded girls who make electronic music with an exotic twist. If Lykke Li swings to industrial flavors and Sally Shapiro is at home in Italo disco, then Miss Bao dabbles into a bit of everything, although the closest comparison to her debut is probably Niki & The Dove. Like all the rest of her female compatriots however, she gravitates towards bass-heavy arrangements and eschews the guitar.


#1. Do You Still Care? 3:40
#2. The Game 2:36
#3. Bodywork Lover 3:59
#4. About To Tell 3:53
#5. Big Boys Do Cry 4:27
#6. Boom Boom 3:27
#7. In Your Heart 2:49
#8. You And I 3:57
#9. No One Knows 3:35
#10. End Of The Road 4:34


Jonnali “Noonie Bao” Mikaela Parmenius: Vocals


Noonie Bao


31st October, 2012


About To Tell
Bodywork Lover
The Game
Do You Still Care?


With thrumming percussion, suppressed vintage keyboards, and a motley collection of small instruments, Bao appears to lift her indie sound from some industry manual. The Game is so effortless that for all its soaring choruses and pulsating beats, the hook feels completely unoriginal. There are exceptions, of course: Do You Still Care is built on a deceptively simple piano line that draws its real muscle from her refreshingly propulsive high-pitched vocals.


Noonie carries a rather breathless mezzo-soprano voice that never lets you settle down and relax. The property can be used to great effect as on Bodywork Lover, which bashes a former lover for “judging a book by its cover”. Her acerbic wit is pleasantly complemented with steel guitars and overdubbed woodwinds. At other times the same property can dismantle even a catchy track like Boom Boom, a number that’s supposed to get you on your feet, but is too rushed and hectic to even encourage a foot tap.


It’s not like her distinctive voice lacks mainstream appeal. On the recent Swedish-Dutch collaborative club hit I Could Be The One, Avicii and Nicky Romero slow down her naturally quick delivery to get that trance-y effect.


But life is about small consolations. Maybe I should be more grateful that the album is not overproduced. In fact, some cuts (In Your Heart, You And I) are so sparse that they can only be described as experimental skeletal demos. Low-key tracks are great if you’re bursting with great ideas that need space, but unfortunately Miss Bao lacks the power or lyrical substance to pull them off with grace. No One Knows is better, but only because the reassuring grand piano fills out the emotional space.


I Am Noonie Bao is largely fitful and inconsistent, plagued by sections of poor writing and clouded vision. At the same time, the attention to detail as well as the boldness to color outside the lines brings surrealist shades with gothic overtones. The contrasting cover art doesn’t quite convey the subtlety of it, but Noonie Bao is a polarizing singer in more ways than one.





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