NYC quartet Bella Noir thrive off the shadows of melodies, structuring their EP, Premonitions out of fierce parallel forces: delicate quasi-psychedelic lyrics and clanging industrial samples, shoegaze guitar ambiance and rickety percussive propulsion, hymnal vocals over choppy powerchord drift. The deconstructed, inky cityscape album art perfectly prepares the listener for the jagged rhythms and flowing melodics, with its deco modern buildings adrift in an explosive ocean-like sky.
“Try” opens the disc with a trembling melody set ablaze by spindly drum acrobatics, a rigid percussion track where the kit’s connective tissue and rims offer as much musical opportunity as the drumheads. The song’s driving guitar riffs evaporate like bursts of steam and clicking gear bits while lines like the evocative proclamation, “We are sinking into the sky” seem to accumulate meaning from open air and particles of electric noise. “My Son” offers up half-time surf guitar licks set afloat within cut-up samples that sound like antique music-boxes set spinning on their axis. Group leader, Wilneida’s mezzo-soprano howl lingers at the intensity level of PJ Harvey, while her band swings from vintage 4AD indie rock slow-burners to Siouxsie and the Banshees-style post-punk anthems (most evident on the everlasting guitar sustain and thumping toms on the verses of closing track, “Distraction”). Even the ambient prelude, “Bellow,” is well-composed and positively focuses the short set by allowing the listener a momentary valley, from which to best see the aural mass constructed around it.
The band locks together best on “Stand Closer,” in which all the best ingredients of post-punk and goth blend together. From the Knife-esque pitch bending guitar stabs to the exuberant pile-drive bassline and airy vocal pairings, this is the sound of a band operating on the same wavelength, when heartbeats and drumsticks sync up and take flight.
Favorite Track: “Stand Closer”