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Josh T. Landow

CD of The Week

Week of 12/06/21

    Marissa Paternoster - Peace Meter (Don Giovanni)

    Screaming Females singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster has been synonymous with blazing riffs and cranked up amps for years as part of her NJ/Philly power trio. And while she’s also recorded a number of noisy-yet-catchy albums solo under the Noun moniker, Peace Meter is her first album strictly under her own name. Perhaps this was to distinguish it from the rest of her catalog, as Peace Meter finds Paternoster working with other textures and turning down the knobs quite a bit on her instrument of choice.

    Early in the pandemic, Paternoster began collaborating remotely with friends from around the country, each contributing their own parts to the project. The entire album was completed without any of them even in the same place at the same time. These contributions greatly add to the overall sound of Peace Meter and help it grow beyond an easy classification of “singer-goes-solo” type albums.

    “White Dove” was the first taste of the album we heard, bringing a gothic folk sound to the table, gradually building the track from mostly an acoustic guitar into something grander by the end. “Black Hole” showcases Paternoster’s recognizable electric guitar style over a rubbery bassline, while she sings of loss and being “awash in a big black hole without you.” “I Lost You” clearly continues this theme, while backed by a subtle dance beat.

    Much of the second half of the album returns to darker acoustic sounds, with cellist Katie Wakefield’s swooning strings riding out the end of the record.

    It’s not like there aren’t slower songs in the Screaming Females catalog but it’s genuinely exciting to hear Paternoster’s voice in these different settings. Peace Meter gives her the chance to expand her musical palette, showing her songwriting can blend seamlessly with these more varied sonic settings.
    Review by Joey O.

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