Salim Nourallah Beautiful Noise

Salim Nourallah makes nice pop compositions, featuring string sections, keyboard harmonies and tambourines, all tucked under a blanket of softness. With his voice invariably the loudest in the mix, the pop orchestration becomes almost ambient at times. Basic rock ingredients, guitar, drums and bass, gel underneath string arrangements that expand and retreat, and ornamental keyboards that glitter throughout. The music is like a regal pillow that carries and presents Nourallah's singing, which sounds remarkably East coast Canadian despite his Texan background, and inspirational "nice-guy" lyrics ("the world is full of people who want to hurt you/I wonder how it feels to hate so much"). The sum of these layers is quiet, epochal pop construction, similar to the Pernice Brothers or Elliott Smith, at his more instrumental moments. Though nothing new, Nourallah puts his talents to good use — "Beautiful Noise" is complexly woven and pleasant to the ears, and songs like "Sunday Morning" are crowning achievements. True to symphonic pop conventions but a great example of the genre, I'm sure there is a universe of Nourallah fans waiting to be converted if they aren't already. (Western Vinyl)