Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
The resilience and fortitude in the human soul is at times the most amazing and outstanding thing that anyone can ever be privileged to witness. It is an honour at times to see the spirit of the race carry on in the face of untold dangers and come through it, as individuals or as a collective, with courage and resilience so intact that the next thing they do is even more remarkable. To put down on paper, to record feelings that might never have been thought of if such hardship has not been faced is something very special and unique, the framing of the human condition in its most wonderful, so fragile and yet inspired; it is something that Rab Noakes has captured with great sincerity in The Treatment Tapes E.P.
The songs that appear on the E.P. are not just stories wrapped up in a comfortable tune or a welcoming set of notes, these have all the authenticity of being so personal, so interwoven with the thoughts of recovery, of possible loss and the hardship of the battle in which letting go is an honest reaction; at times the one that may be right but is always considered wrong.
To let go though is to admit that there might be nothing more worth writing about and there is always a story, a tale, the sheer moment of reflection in which to stand up once again and smile in the face of every sling and arrow, every needle, every down moment, it is not something Rab Noakes adheres too as the tales are there to be heard in their full glory and it is a state of mind which is beautiful.
Despite having been quite seriously ill, the artistic brain keeps going and it is one that serves this artist well. In songs such as Fade (To Shades of Black), That Won’t Stop Me and Water Is My Friend, that creativity is shown with care, consideration and a powerful message of keep going tied to its demanding but excellent lyrics.
A subtle reminder that music continues to feed the body, that the mind can never be truly broken if the spirit endures, Rab Noakes embodies such gratifying feeling.
Ian D. Hall