White Noise
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  • Audio Mixer: Phil Schawel.
  • Recording information: Studio Litho, Seattle, WA (08/2016-02/2017); Studio X, Seattle, WA (08/2016-02/2017); The Ballard Baitshop, Seattle, WA (08/2016-02/2017).
  • On his third full-length release, White Noise, singer/songwriter Noah Gundersen almost completely leaves behind his tender, murmured folk. The album still holds its share of intimate moments and plenty of emotional intensity but, citing influences like Radiohead ("Sweet Talker"), the Beatles, and Wilco ("New Religion"), the volume is dialed up and, at times, arrangements reach symphonic arena rock levels. That's a first for Gundersen, but the choice isn't without meaning. Intended as "sensory overload" inspired by primal drives like love, lust, and fear, White Noise came together in 2016; the song "Dry Year" was recorded on the night of the U.S. presidential election.
  • The album announces its intent by opening with ominous electronic distortion followed by rugged drums and electric guitar (in sharp contrast to the a cappella harmony vocals that opened his debut). "After All (Everything All the Time)" eventually climaxes with a wash of droning synths, guitars, and strings worthy of classic the Verve or Coldplay. Subsequent tracks continue in kind, albeit contrasting with quieter passages, on tracks about "Cocaine Sex & Alcohol," "Fear & Loathing" (which features Greg Leisz on pedal steel), and porn stars ("Bad Actors"). He finally brings it all down and keeps it down on the penultimate "Dry Year," an acoustic guitar lament ("Some days the world feels like a building on fire but everyone's ignoring the smoke"). Though some of the bolder textures here were introduced on 2015's Carry the Ghost, they reach new levels and dominate White Noise. ~ Marcy Donelson
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