Beginning as a ragged but energetic garage-influenced indie rock group with the ferocity of punk but with a soulful, bluesy edge and later delving into disco and unadulterated pop, the Noisettes were founded by guitarist Dan Smith and singer/bassist Shingai Shoniwa, who previously worked together in the band Sonarfly. While the pair already had a working relationship, in the spring of 2003 they began getting together to write songs, and their new project fell into place when they met drummer Jamie Morrison, whose manic approach matched Smith and Shoniwa's brash, physical style but also left room for the latter's diva-gone-wild vocals. Adopting the name the Noisettes, the trio started playing out in late 2003, and in 2004 went into the studio to record a four-song EP, The Three Moods of the Noisettes. In early 2005, the disc was released by the U.K. independent label Side Salad Records and attracted the attention of a number of well-known British acts, including Babyshambles, Bloc Party, and Muse, all of whom invited the group to tour with them.
The disc also found appreciative ears at Universal Music, which signed the Noisettes to an international deal in 2006, releasing their material through Motown/Vertigo in Europe and Mercury in the United States. The group's debut album, What's the Time Mr. Wolf?, was released in February of 2007. The band returned in March 2009 with the single "Don't Upset the Rhythm," which introduced the Noisettes' newfound pop polish and disco influences; later that spring the group's second album, Wild Young Hearts, arrived. The album was released in the U.S. that fall. Morrison left the group in early 2010; later that year, the core duo of Smith and Shoniwa issued a cover of the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn'tve)" and a re-recorded version of "Sister Rosetta" for the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1. The Noisettes' third album, Contact, arrived in 2012, and its singles "Winner" and "That Girl" revealed the duo was moving in even more eclectic directions.