It starts out all echoey. I’m instantly beset by this intense, rich sound design. Marissa Paternoster’s trill on White Dove brings to mind the ethereal prog-pop of Kate Bush, Hannah Fury or Sophe Lux. As we move from the White Dove to the second track Black Hole, I’m reminded somewhat of Marianne Nowottny’s more alt-new wave, post-punk work. Also like Nowottny, in addition to being a musical artist, she works as a visual artist as well. Elements of electronica and again a sort of neo-retro vibe that’s a bit new wave but not quite, appears and reappears.
There’s also a hint of Blonde Redhead in there somewhere, but I can’t put my finger on exactly where. In addition to her incredible vibrato, the droning, the layers and crisp acoustic rhythm guitar pop up again and again as a sort of thread throughout the album. Haunting is certainly a good word for what you’ll find in Paternoster’s latest release from Don Giovanni Records.
Speaking of the acoustic guitar on the album, Balance Beam is one of the standout tracks. Stripped down and raw, Marissa’s distinctive vocal styling and harmony tracks meld perfectly with the gentle strum and pluck of the reverb soaked acoustic guitar. A sense of melancholy and wistfulness is apparent on many tracks but there’s something strangely upbeat as well, especially on counterintuitive tracks like the peppy Shame or positively angelic Waste. Juxtaposition is the name of the game with many of the best tracks on Peace Meter.
Fans running the gamut from Bjork, Joanna Newsom, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos to the Bangles or Mazzy Star should all find something to love here.