CD Review: Mr. Gnome

Madness in Miniature (El Marko)

Recorded at the L.A. home studio of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, Mr. Gnome's third album sounds as great as you might expect. Singer-guitarist Nicole Barille shifts effortlessly from soft and seductive to dark and haunting, then on to straight-up feisty. Meanwhile, Sam Meister's trippy, hypnotic beats and rhythms provide the perfect groove; he even gets to show off his piano skills on the eerie, Portishead-like "Watch the City Sail Away." And don't worry: The California setting hasn't affected Mr. Gnome's gloomy mood one bit: They expose their hometown roots on "Winter," which hangs in the air as heavy as a Cleveland December. — Eddie Fleisher