Drawing on a visceral mix of contrasting textures — light/dark, soft/loud — this local duo recasts the epic menace of bands like Isis and Pelican. Nicole Barille's ethereal voice adds a softer female element missing from the aforementioned combos, heightening contrasts. At times, Mr. Gnome's languid drift veers into sad-core territory — then Sam Meister pounds his drums like an abusive alcoholic, and Barille loosens the throttle on her guitar, unleashing crashing sheets of distortion. The group's full-length debut, Deliver This Creature (which comes out next month), relies more on texture and tone than hooks, riding dramatic swells into spacey lulls before reigniting as stormy blasts. In its noisiest moments, Mr. Gnome creates as much ruckus as a band twice its size. Extensive touring over the past couple of years pays off: Barille and Meister sound dramatically sharper and smarter these days, even putting together a semi-pop tune — complete with piano and trumpet — in "Tied," Deliver This Creature's delicate closer.
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