I’d like to think I’m a fan of multiple musical genres, but admittedly, my heart lies with heavy metal. When I think of music from the San Francisco Bay Area, my mind tends to gravitate towards bands like Deftones, Machine Head, Kyuss, Slayer, etc. I don’t generally see it as a place with a vibrant electronic/industrial vibe. Well, a quick google search told me how utterly wrong I was. Not only are there some fantastic electronic acts to discover, but I get the pleasure of reviewing one of them today.
Chelsey and the Noise are the brain-child of Chelsey Hice and Brent Watters. Their latest EP, Blank Frames, was my first introduction to the duo and what an introduction it was. Influenced by bands like Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring, the music is abrasive, hard-hitting, and cuts through you with the force of bad acid trip at a dimly-lit nightclub.
So, in other words, I really loved this EP.
The opener is a three-and-a-half minute burner titled “Mountain.” Electronics are heavily used on this track, as is the case with every other one on the EP. Yet, somehow, this song could comfortably sit on the set list of any posh nightclub or gritty metal bar. This is in no small part due to Chelsey’s incredibly powerful voice.
“Castle” kicks in with what sounds like some heavily distorted guitar and equally distorted effects on Chelsey’s voice, giving the track an ominous groove that carries throughout the rest of the song.
“Thick/Clear” is a two-part song that feels like it was perfectly titled. The first part of the track is exactly as described… thick and powerful and backed by crushing beat as Chelsey’s voice perfectly coasts above it. When the “clear” part kicks in, things get mellow with a melodic piano interlude, but that beat is still along for the ride.
The EP ends with “Depth Denying (Underwater)” and admittedly, was the only track on the EP that lost me a little. Perhaps a little too dubstep-y for my tastes, but that certainly didn’t diminish how I felt about Blank Frames as a whole. This is a band that isn’t afraid to innovate and experiment. The EP borders on moments of intensity and calmness and I enjoyed every second of it.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Mike Milito