As a dark, electronic group coming out of the West Coast, Chelsey and the Noise contrasts the lax Californian stereotype. The duo of vocalist Chelsey Hice and instrumentalist Brent Watters seduces with a new set of shadowy tunes on Losing Landscape, a four-track EP that puts some fun into the idea of running through moonlit graveyards without fear.
The minute the EP commences, the listener’s ears are met by bells and a screech of electric notes, setting the tone for the rest to follow. These elements continue throughout the EP, creating a dark ambiance that is further enhanced by Hice’s voice—reminiscent to Sleigh Bells’ singer Alexis Krauss, but with more emphasis on vowels and an ominous tone. Yet, what makes Hice’s voice unique is she delivers it in an upbeat fashion, as if she finds joy in negative emotions and despair. Maybe too much joy, as her words come out overemphasized—as if she alone should experience her bliss-kissed voice.
“Graveyard,” the first track on the EP, personifies this idea with a union of electronic sounds and distorted guitar licks that introduce Hice’s ominous voice. The song progresses into lines of synths and chants, and as she sings, “bury bury me deep, how many bones beneath, how many bones beneath,” a morbid theme paints in the mind a scenic black-and-white music video starring a goth mistress counting the souls of those she has taken.
“Edge of Infinity” is a continuation of the pace set by “Graveyard.” In this song, one can imagine this same mistress clad in fishnet, black attire and boots prancing through a foggy field with her hands up in melancholy. She gains a further hop in her step in “Parish,” with the song showcasing distorted rhythms and high-pitched riffs that compete with Hice’s own peaking voice.
“Cavern” is the final song in the EP. It bridges the rough pace set by the collection of songs to a harsher vibe, with fast guitar solos filling the second half of the song as Hice moans and whispers lyrics of dread, like “fear me,” “only touch me like you hate me,” and “I die.”
...they utilize abstract styles of electronic that can easily appeal to those looking for something more gritty than mainstream.
If I had to strictly label the group’s genre, I’d call it “Goth Electronic” due to its dark sound. However, the style of the music’s composition, which mainly focuses on a mix of electronics and guitar (and not much else), is a bit bland, as if solely dedicated to standardized version of goth music.
Worth noting is the lead singer’s voice, which pitches in various tones. Her emphasizing of some vowels is acceptable if not diluted by the EP’s heavy distortion. Otherwise, her lyrics are difficult to understand at times, making some of the verses perplexing, Still, the group could easily find bliss in the grungiest, smoke-filled, underground speakeasies of any city because they utilize abstract styles of electronic that can easily appeal to those looking for something more gritty than mainstream.
Ultimately, Losing Landscapes is consistent; Each song describes what type of group Chelsey and the Noise is; a duo experimenting with electronic elements of electrogaze, dream-pop, and grunge, and unique vocals that blur the borders separating sound and lyrics. However, the collection of sounds together with the unique vocals makes for a sound too ridged for everyday ears.
6,000 out of 10,000 Rawckus Kung Fu Throwing Stars.