I can’t recall whether there was a soundtrack to that skin-crawly videotape in the movie The Ring. If there was, it probably sounded a lot like EP #2, the latest release from Amherst post-punk band La Noia. This four-song EP is both scary good and just plain scary. Goth rock fans will love it.
The Amherst-based band has produced a screeching fit of dark noise rock with a malicious twist on the classic loud-quiet-loud fluctuation that plays out both vocally and instrumentally. The two lead singers (Eleni Maka and Zach Hart) disharmonize unnervingly with Makka’s long, echoing chants bouncing off and colliding with Hart’s gruff, aggressive shouting. On the track “Things Falling Apart” Hart starts out loud and rambunctious. Then his voice subsides into a whimper, almost like he’s wounded. In drifts Makka’s voice, a sinister lullaby, comforting Hart so he can scream once more. There’s kind of a mother-child vibe—sweet, in a bone-chilling way.
Musically, La Noia is anything but sweet. Shrieking, spiraling guitar riffs rip through the crumbling, thudding rhythm section. Rapid, pounding drums drop away, leaving a tense silence. On “Stay Together for the Fortnight” the drums bang louder and louder beneath sporadic bursts of shrill, squealing guitar. When they stop, it’s like the guitar no longer knows where to go and evaporates into an awesomely creepy bendy riff. Such relatively quiet moments are among the album’s best—like white noise for demons.
Horror rock is hard to pull off. I love Bauhaus, but “Bella Lugosi’s Dead?” Come on. La Noia is the band to listen to when you want to feel something crawling just under your skin. You wouldn’t think music could be both loud and haunting. But it can.