It seems of late that the lines between different styles of music have been blurred somewhat, particularly in popular music. Hybrid is the buzzword, and it sells. Metal is crossing into rap, bands are trying to break out of the mould they've created - anything to make an impact, to sound different. There are several forms of hybrid music that have gained popular acceptance over the past few years - but really, there can't be a place for opera in there, can there?
Yes, yes there can be. This week, polyserena, the debut full length album by Brisbane band george is sitting at the top of Australian album charts, in its first week of release. And siblings Katie and Tyrone Noonan, classically trained since the age of four, are the driving reason behind this success. While their sound is a far way off the traditional image, and sound of opera, it's definitely an influence in the quality of their sound.
george formed in Brisbane in 1996, to enter a University band competition. Their talent was immediately obvious, evidenced by winning the competition. Since then, they've formed a loyal following, through word of mouth and independent radio play. Several EP's and singles later, they have finally released a full length album, and people can't get enough of them. Their sound is an eclectic mix of rock, jazz and pop - sometimes incredibly fragile and beautiful, at others, they rock out just as hard as any other band.
Vocal duties are split between the Katie and Tyrone, both possessing incredible voices, and an individual style. Tyrone has a voice reminiscent of Jeff Buckley at times - I've heard this bought up as a point of criticism, critics assuming that he's attempting to imitate. With a voice like his though, why would you try to imitate anyone? Katie's voice is simply breathtaking. She has perfect control over her sound, going from the softest, barely there vocals, to amazing power and strength with seeming ease. This incredible ability gives george's songs a wonderful dynamic that must be heard to be believed.
Backing up the vocal ability of the Noonan's is a talented band, who manage to display their impressive ability, while not overpowering the vocal focus. When not singing, either Katie or Tyrone will be playing keyboards - another thing they both excel at. In the end, each individual part of george the band, weaves together to produce something magical, and like nothing I've ever heard before. Live, they're spectacular. It's obvious that they have been playing to live crowds for a long time, their performance is flawless. george have served a long apprenticeship on the road, and been rewarded with success, and a large fan base across the country. It's no surprise that their album has hit number one in its first week of release really - george fans have been anticipating its release for years. In the end, it's been well worth the wait. And from here, things can only get better.
- Tyrone Noonan (vocals, keyboard, acoustic guitar)
- Katie Noonan (vocals, keyboard)
- Geoff Green (drums, percussion)
- Paulie Bromley (bass)
- Nick Stewart (electric/acoustic guitar)