"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> White Noise Sound
(Alive Records)
By: Mary Leary
As the first track kicks in, I'm riveted to the speakers: Incredibly cool stuff, kind of a marriage of seminal Wire with Suicide, awakens something in my blood. It's all there; squeals of short feedback as punctuation; the offhand, slightly shaky vocals; the beat that could fire the edgiest catwalk slither-struts. WNS (with mixers Cian Ciaran of Super Furry Animals and Pete Kember of Spacemen 3) has an intuitive feel for blending electronics and digital tones with rock dynamics - this may be one of the most exciting such groups to hit since NIN broke. And WNS knows it's got it goin' on: most musicians this new to the scene would be afraid of quenching the opening track's fire with the relatively minimal, frostier breaths comprising the first half-or-so of "It Is There for You," which sounds like Lou Reed dreaming a song for Andy Warhol - that is, before those breaths swell into something rocking and majestic.
The entire "eponymous debut" (only thing I dislike: this is good enough to eschew such a hackneyed moniker) carries on in more or less the same absorbing vein. "Fires in the Still Sea" seems to come from an island of ghosts in a northern lake originally flooded with fluids by Cluster and Eno. I'd rather have another rocker than the tastefully appointed "There Is No Tomorrow," but realize I should be careful what I wish for when the horrorshow dynamics of boot-buster "Blood" describe the apocalypse before the end: this r-a-w-ks so hard, I want a new "Blade Runner" or "Road Warrior" to go with it. Even the cats are stretching and grinning in approval - maybe it reminds them of tearing a mouse apart. The follower, "Blood (Reprise)" sounds more like the workings of a tortured mouse's brain.
The trippy measures of "Don't Wait for Me" actually fit the "psychedelic" description sometimes applied to WNS. With more of the same, the finale's rather a masterpiece: "In Both Dreams and Ecstasies" combines trance-inducing beats and tones with bizarre sound effects and little sonic explosions. I don't think this is the kind of white noise I could use to counteract insomnia.