Record Review: Neara Russell

Neara Russell
Noise and Silence
Los Angeles, CA
(Nerve-O Records)

“Sharp piano hooks and swirling electronics”

Combining the rich sound of a grand piano with everything from toy drums to synthetic soundscapes, Noise and Silence is many things at once and, much like its creator, hard to pigeonhole. Neara Russell writes pop music like musical theatre, musical theatre like modern classical, and modern classical like experimental electronica. No matter how much you listen, there’s no way to quite figure out where it’s coming from or where it’s going. Her voice is earnest and has an uplifting quality found in few singers today, telling stories from the front lines of young life in America.

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The songs all rely on her formidable piano chops but still find ways to surprise you in their accompanying orchestrations and moods. Opener “NeverNeverNeverNever” defines the sound of the album with catchy piano hooks and Russell singing her way into your head amid a swirling mix of electronic and acoustic sounds while “Dumb in Love” sounds like a teenage-romance scored by Yann Tiersen.

The album proceeds smoothly through piano bar ballads, carefree love songs, and songs built on rising tensions that break at just right the moment – all beneath Russell’s increasingly familiar voice. Noise and Silence is an album that’s simpler to listen to than to describe or pick apart, filled with songs that are complex to think about, but easy to relate to.

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Neara Russell

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