Thursday, November 03, 2011

Mr. Gnome at Plush tonight!

Cleveland's Mr. Gnome is band that strips down to the basics, without ever sounding stripped down. Forget the convention of the power trio, this is a power duo.

Nicole Barille on vocals and guitar and Sam Meister on drums, occasional piano and back-up vocals - that's it. Just as bombastic as the White Stripes, just as enigmatic as Wye Oak and just as crafty as the Black Keys, Mr. Gnome plays music that makes the most of tension, dipping into tender moments as well as glorious noise.

Madness in Miniature, out on Oct. 25, is ferocious, calculating, edgy and ethereal. Songs like "House of Circles" even manage to blend all those elements together at once. It's a distinctly modern type of psychedelic rock, bluesy at the edges, but pulsating with a sort of burned-out energy.

Madness in Miniature draws strength from its shifts in tone and style. "Run For Cover" presents its spookiness with a twisted reverence, while "Bit of Tongue" is 90s style alternative that explodes in an ending burst of punk. "Wolf Girls" is wild guitar riffing in a pit of paranoia, the soundtrack to dark dreams.

Staying strong across its 12 songs, Madness in Miniature could very well be a sleeper pick for one of 2011's best records.

Mr. Gnome (for fans of Wye Oak, The Black Keys and Yeah Yeah Yeahs) plays Plush tonight, with Stareater and Some of Them Are Old. $7.

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