Noah Gundersen: White Noise
Two years ago, Noah Gundersen made a dramatic leap forward with his songwriting on his second album, Carry the Ghost. It was largely slept on—which is a shame because he was displaying a real sense of rawness and honesty that’s rather difficult to find these days. On White Noise , he’s upped the ante a bit, where the sad-sackery approach he took last time is largely cast aside for something more revved up and immediate. Like in the past, you get the sense that Gundersen is searching for meaning in life, whether it’s through other people, his role as a professional artist or himself. But the differences this time shine through in the arrangements. Highlights include “The Sound,” a charging ‘80s rocker that would have been great in a John Hughes montage scene, the keyboard-infused “Heavy Metals” and “Number One Hit of the Summer (Fade Out),” a call to arms of sorts, with Gundersen declaring, “When everybody’s watching you drown/ So fade out.” Gundersen’s current heights can be heard on “Cocaine Sex & Alcohol (From a Basement in Los Angeles,)” a mid-2000s Radiohead-sounding experimental ballad about a guy feeling so out of place at a cool Los Angeles party. “Get me out, get me out of the light,” he begs early on. The song soars for seven minutes and is one of his most experimental numbers to date. Tempos shift, orchestrations flutter and Gundersen is sort of singing, sort of just running through his mind on a rough night where he’s just trying to keep up. It’s a place we’ve all been at one point or another.