Marissa Paternoster under her solo moniker Noun has released a fierce album. Released on the 1st of November via Don Giovanni Records, Noun introduces a significant amount of new elements on this new album titled Throw Your Body On The Gears And Stop The Machine With Your Blood, by integrating keyboards, synths, drum machines and post-punk influences. Marissa Paternoster is the frontwoman for the New Jersey punk band Screaming Females, the band’s latest album was released back in February 2015 – an excellent album entitled Rose Mountain – and have been active since 2005, releasing six full albums and two EPs.
Opening with “Pain”, commences with Noun’s illustrious guitar sound, with the keyboards protruding this unsettling ambiance with a simple drumming beat that complements the existential and gothic lyrics, with the chorus echoing “am in so much pain, how much more can I take”. The second song “Loveblood”, synth-pop intertwine with post punk components, has a catchy tune and irresistible chorus, it is easy to find yourself singing along with the chorus but be aware to what you’re reciting “I want your Blood, I want your love”. Love, suffering, death, religious and gothic imagery recur throughout the album such as on the next song “Dirty Mind”, with lyrics continuing “please let me die, minute rise while I am on the floor” and later has “with a dirty mind and a soul that’s clean”, additionally this is a song which has prominent drum machine and synths that exemplifies Noun’s new musical direction.
The album title is a reference to the American political activist Mario Savio famous speech delivered on December 2, 1964 at Sproul Hall, University California, Berkeley. Part of Mario Savio indictment speech is played towards the end of the song “Misery”, with a searing guitar feedback coda that stops on the very start of the next song “Child Bride” for a juxtaposition effect. The intro begins with a perpetual drum beat and then an acoustic guitar being austerely played that continues to build throughout the song with riveting textures and new instruments getting added to the musical landscape.
The opening on “Heaven” has a resonant guitar riff that slowly advances into an explosive transition into coordinated interplay that eventually fragments with haunting high pitched vocals by Noun that interlinks with the sinister imagery, with lyrics such as “I’m channelling my urge to kill”. “Secret Death” revolves around being sentenced to death and relies on the usage of guitar solos and guitar feedback. There are numerous similar themes to the lyrics that are ubiquitous on this album, albeit the recurrences of the themes are presented to us differently every time.
“Tidal Wave” is heavily infused with post-punk tendencies, lyrics that delineate nature and the destructive side of nature with poetic execution that continues onto the next song “Ithaca Falls”. Noun produces restraint vocals mixed with faintly played acoustic guitar and keyboards sounds drifting in and out of the song, generating an atmospheric quality that makes you feel the tranquillity of Ithaca Falls but ceases you with Noun’s evocative lyrics “burning the children in their sleep”, for a contrasting result. “I Feel The Darkness” ends the album, the keyboards evoke an atmosphere of eeriness that swings to beautiful guitar melodies and choruses with lyrics “when I am alone with you I feel the darkness pushing through, and when I am by myself I feel the darkness”.
I admire artists who sound different from their previous work when they go solo from a band or do a solo project, for which Noun has achieved on this record. Noun has perfectly executed a different sound that blends post-punk with Noun’s idiosyncratic sound and I look forward to when Noun releases another album. Purchase Noun’s Throw Your Body On The Gears And Stop The Machine With Your Blood on iTunes here.
Words by Jack Walters