UK-France duo The Noise Who Runs presents 'One Scratch Each', the first single from their new five-song EP ‘come and join the beautiful army’, to be released on November 22nd. This is a brooding, slightly menacing call to solidarity - an idealogical blueprint as to how the marketing and branding of the individual has resulted in increasingly negative impacts on society and humanity.
The Noise Who Runs is the brainchild of songwriter Ian Pickering (of Sneaker Pimps and Front Line Assembly), who also co-authored such hits as 'Spin Spin Sugar', '6 Underground' and 'Tesko Suicide'. Upon relocating from northern England to France, Pickering launched this project with Brazilian-French guitarist Felipe Goes.
Following up their April 2023 album ‘Preteretrospective’, which blended the abrasive beauty of electric guitars and electronica, 'One Scratch Each' is a more stripped-down take on the group’s sound - almost a bare, minimalist electronic groove, Felipe Goes’ electric guitar creating a raw, atmospheric complement to the drone bass keyboards and quirky drum machine rhythm. The vocals are simple and repetitive with just four different lyrics across the song, a distinct "less is more" approach.
“I would question the obsession of brands, marketing and advertising, primarily, on pushing such a vain, shallow concept of the individual - it’s a face-value, nothing beneath the surface kind of ideal. We are all born individuals, that should never need to be overtly demonstrated and insisted upon, it’s quite obviously what we all are. It can’t be proved with trinkets and adornments. The more salient point would be how we all come together as individuals and make a difference, a change for the better for the majority. Maybe the beautiful army lies in the forests away from the trenches; deserters, conscientious objectors and those that have been driven shellshock mad by the constant, oppressive noise of manufactured, idiotic right-wing culture wars,” says Ian Pickering.
“The beautiful army would be the people who reject the pathetic culture wars of populists, who proceed with compassion and empathy rather than instantly resort to knee-jerk outrage and sincerely believe that the some kind of optimistic future can still be salvaged from the slow-motion chaos of the inevitable car crash, in which we are currently forced to be passengers.”
As always with Pickering’s lyrics, the line between optimism and cynicism seem so blurred as to entwine like strands of DNA, the seemingly ever-present sense of contradiction - a trait that runs throughout all song by The Noise Who Runs and one that makes the tracks evolve and grow of their own accord the more you listen to them.
“The phrase "one scratch each" was a line left over from 'Takes A Long Cold Look And Then The Kitchen Sink', which was on the last album. Three little words - it doesn’t really need much else added to it - so musically, it felt, for us, like free rein to do something minimalist and less traditional and repeat the same phrase. This is a call for solidarity in a world constantly being sown with division and discord," says Pickering.
"So far, the start of the 21st Century seems remarkably like repeating the mistakes of the early 20th Century. In the First World War, all that flag-waving, jingoistic sense of and pride in nationality across Europe, the othering of governments and nations all engaged in the same exploitation of other continents, resulted in the most obscene and needless carnage and it feels, today, as if nothing has changed, other than that rather than conscripting us all and sending us to France and Belgium for the slaughter, the big push would appear to be starving us to death in our own homes while we work all the hours of the day for a monthly wage that barely covers the cost of living."
The full ‘come and join the beautiful army' EP was mixed and mastered by Colin C at The Cell Studio, whose clients include CBS, FOX, NBC / Universal, Showtime, HBO and Lionsgate Films and such artists as Front Line Assembly and Danny Saber (Black Grape, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Madonna).