Mr. Gnome 

Echoes on the Ground (www.mrgnome.com)

On its debut release, Cleveland's Mr. Gnome introduces itself to the scene with strength. Composed of Nicole Barille on vocals and guitar and Sam Meister on drums, the duo creates a dynamic five-track disc that is an extremely satisfying listen.

Though it is firmly rooted in rock, Meister's drumming flashes occasional hip-hop flourishes, and he has no trouble mixing up his beats, particularly on "El Marko" and "T.L.S." With her knack for unique melodies, Barille's smooth and powerful voice is the duo's greatest asset, shining brightest on the title track. Her guitar work is up to par as well; syncing and playing off the drums, she creates beds of sound that are sometimes thin and beautiful, but more often thick and full of teeth. In the current musical landscape, there seems to be no shortage of talented two-piece rock acts that have a big sound. Mr. Gnome can hang with any of 'em.

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