The band Nora’s Attic came through with their first independent full-length album Starving in the fall of 2013. Based in Calgary, Alberta, Nora’s Attic recorded their latest release at Outhouse Studio under the inspirations of Tool, The Pixies, and Ani Difranco. The local studio recently flooded, give them some love if you can (www.Outhouse.ca). Nora’s Attic projects a 90s grunge and alternative rock sound incorporating metal, pop, and fuzzy punk guitar riffs. The lead singer approaches the raw punk presence of Brody Dalle of The Distillers and the emotional honesty of Mia Zapata from The Gits.
Starving is consistent with its Nirvana-like guitar intro riffs and fuzz levels, that calls us back to the somewhat recent music history of 90s punk and grunge. Tracks like “Red Roses” and “Escape” spotlight heavy metal guitar solos that support the angry vocals. But uncharacteristic of most metal songs, “Red Roses” starts off and breaks down into spoken word style vocals. The chillingly honest spoken lyrics drive the song. Experimenting with vocal form, Charlene Wilson questions the success of her words to convey emotion when she speaks, “a scream is hard to follow.”
Track 3, “War Games” throws the listener into the middle of a breakup war. Driven by metal guitars and punk beats, Wilson talks about love and hate of a former lover. The song avoids overdrive in the bridge when the guitar drops out and the bass slinks along as she repeats “anything to see you smile.” Anger is transposed especially well into the lyrics “little house full of broken dreams/and busted wishes/who knew in the end/we’d be throwing dishes/I thought I loved you til the end.” This is definitely not one of those campy rhymes.
The album closes out with the slower tempo tracks “Never” and “Across and Below (unplugged).” These Hole-reminiscent tracks hold off on the heavy guitar of the rest of album and replaces it with pared down, grungy riffs. Here, the chorus vocals have more of a punk scream edge that are also found in the title track, “Starving.”
Every song is complete with intros, outros, notable bridges, badass solos and killer vocals. Even though most of Starving seems like a high school breakup album lyrically, there is a huge place in my heart for 90s wild child punks. Especially check out “War Games,” “Red Roses,” and “Across and Below (unplugged).” If you’re up in Alberta, be sure to catch Nora’s Attic live.
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