Mediocre voice undermines lively tunes
Noun is a musical project centered around Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females, who sings and plays guitar and keyboards. The tunes on Holy Hell are punchy and short. They range from two and a half minutes to less than four, and some benefit from lively instrumentation, but Paternoster’s voice is the weak link. This is unfortunate, as her voice is central to the arrangements. Listener frustration sets in when energetic songs like “Outerspace” and “Brother” kick off with promising bursts of distorted guitar noise, only to be undermined by Paternoster’s sliding, sometimes embarrassingly off-pitch vocals. “Wrong Things” weaves an interesting sonic web of percussion and guitar effects, but it can’t overcome that weak voice. Tracks like “Call Earth,” which place the vocals front and center, never even have a chance.