Novelists made enough of an impact within the tech scene to ink a deal with Nuclear Blast for their second full-length, so someone sees something in them that makes them stand out from a pack that’s getting more uniform every year. Pinpointing what that is proves tricky at times on Noir, with many of the shimmering melodic passages turning into juddering breakdowns in frustratingly familiar circumstances. But while it’d be easy to beat the Parisians down for what they don’t do, they should be applauded for doing what they do very well. Songs like Monochrome may trade on predictable build-and-boom dynamics, but when they swell to such a glorious payoff it’s hard to argue against. It’s also hard to shake the feeling that Novelists could be any number of bands from their scene, but at least they’re a capable one.