When gothic electronica meets guitar noise in a dance hall showdown
Chelsey and the Noise is what I’d imagine would happen if St Vincent turned into a goth and decided to have an avant-garde industrial rave-up with a fetish club. It’s angry, punchy, aggressive and knows exactly what it wants the Blank Frames EP sets out its stool to rock and pump your brains out from the opening bars.
“Mountain” opens the EP with a synth-goth screamer. The beats are heavy and industrial whereas the synths and guitar noise are thin but aggressive. There’s elements of early Zola Jesus to the production for me, but instead of channelling an angry goth, Chelsey is much more rock-focused as she spits out her lyrics and her voice seems to fuse with the guitar feedback. It’s more apparent on the more noise-rock “Castle” which has scattering riffs and scrambles Chelsey’s voice into a water glitch that spirals off as part of the beat breakdowns. It’s really clever and because the production means that the guitars, synth and voice all share roughly the same space, they all merge in and out of each other making you feel like they are tiny razors taking swipes at you at it verges on Synth-Metal at times. “Thick/Clear” is an anti-dance floor anthem. It’s dance beats remind me of Post-era Bjork but the chords are all detuned and match the weird off-kilter guitar riffs and vocal loops. It contains so much power, it’s the kind of song you’ll want to crowd surf to and mosh at the same time. “Depth Denying (Underwater)” closes off the EP with the only slow burn track which transitions from a noise drone to goth pop over its near five minutes. I was less keen on the slower sections when everything was out of tune and in a guitar haze on purpose, but the razor-sharp riffs were sublime.
Chelsey and the Noise have made a taut, sexy, seedy and vengeful EP with Blank Frames. They have some really interesting ideas and song mechanics that I really enjoy and I love their passion and rawness. The production does make some of the music feel a bit thin though and so your ears may get a bit nulled from the same bandwidth being taken up. If they can expand on their frequency palette in the future, they’ll be an underground hit in waiting.
Recommended track: “Thick/Clear”
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