The White Noise
Aren’t You Glad? EP
The first time I heard the single “Bloom” by LA-based newcomers The White Noise, I found myself hitting the repeat button a dozen times and struggling to figure out where I could get my hands on more music by this band. There was something raw, inventive, and oddly nostalgic about the sound coming from my speakers. It was like I was finally hearing that sound which brought together all my favorite musical genres into one. However, at that time “Bloom” was the only track available. So you can imagine my excitement when I finally got my hands on their debut EP Aren’t You Glad?
Aren’t You Glad? is hardcore, metalcore, pop punk, traditional punk, commercial rock and grunge kind of all rolled into one. Each of the six tracks add a unique edge to the overall sound of the EP without stepping on the toes of the band’s sound as a whole. But most notably, this EP feels more like you’re actually attending a show rather than listening to a digitally mastered recording. From the pure energy released in the vocals, riffs and drum fills, the EP exudes a “Fuck it, man. Let’s just do it” feel all around.
“Red Eye Lids” is perhaps the best example of this live show vibe. From opening the track with a false start and the self critical “Hold on that was shit, let’s do that again,” the rest of the lyrical content takes the listener straight to the venue with lines like “I’ll save a seat for you.” and “Shut up. Jump.” (though it’s easily misheard comically as “Shut up, Chuck!”). For the fans of heavier music, this track is also the most metalcore influenced on the album with its heavier riffs and deeper vocals. Think “circle pit” when you jam to it.
On the flip side, though, the listener gets more radio-friendly tracks like “Brainwashed.” Carried by an underlying groove metal riff, the track leans far more in a pop punk direction with an almost exclusive set of clean vocals to accompany it. The mash up of the jagged notes in Shawn Walker’s voice work extremely well to compliment the soothing, toned back melodies that stem from David Southern. And while this track is the most marketable to the general public, it is ironically the weakest on Aren’t You Glad? as it does not hit nearly as many out of the box notes as the rest of the EP does.
We see this diverse nature thoroughly in “Picture Day,” the strongest track on the EP. It’s scratchy, gnarly basement punk mixed with catchy hooks, a straight up pop-influenced bridge, and cliché lyrics that lose their sense of camp in large part because of the tone they are delivered in. “I set myself on fire now when I think of you” just sounds beautifully bitter rather than overdone as it smoothly cuts through the harsher vocals of the track almost as if the band is saying “We can make a song sound however the hell we want; we need no formula to do it.”
It’s rare to come across a band whose recordings are so jumbled and all over the place, but still capable of sounding like one collective body of work. If you’re looking for a solid, concretely defined genre, you will not find this with The White Noise. Aren’t You Glad? is an EP filled with sounds reminiscent of that classic ’70s punk attitude and early 2000s MySpace flavor while still feeling like a new form of contemporary rock. With such a sophisticated grasp on various alternative genres, it’s hard to believe these six tracks are just their debut. (Natasha Van Duser)