There was once a time in rock history when it would’ve been unthinkable to create a band without all three critical parts to the formation: guitar, bass, and drums. But now, it seems that, more and more, there are people who say to each other, “We don’t need three people, we can make music with just the two of us.” With that notion in mind, duos that contain only two main instruments have started to pop up wherever you look.
And while these duos exist, some with guitars and drums, some with bass and drums, and some with keyboards and drums, they all seem to create unique styles to their music: You have Alternative Rock with The White Stripes, Blues-Rock with The Black Keys, even Heavy Metal with Cleveland’s All Out.
And for some reason, the northern part of Ohio seems to draw these duos together: Already mentioned are Akron’s Black Keys and Cleveland’s All Out. But there is still one more duo to add to that list: Cleveland’s Mr. Gnome. And like the aforementioned bands, Mr. Gnome fills the duo role in their category of Indie Rock.
Mr. Gnome is made up of guitarist/singer Nicole Barille and drummer Sam Meister. Together, the duo has been performing as Mr. Gnome since 2005. And in the years since their inception, Barille and Meister have written enough music to fill two EPs: “Echoes On the Ground,” and their self-titled release.
With the two EPs, the duo took their act out on the road and completed two national tours. And after the second national tour Barille and Meister decided to make music their full-time profession. Since they formed, the two musicians have completed five national tours together. It was when they were on the road that the pair decided to finally record an entire album. And in 2007/2008, they went about creating their new album entitled “Deliver This Creature”.
The musical ground of “Deliver This Creature” seems to continuously shift throughout the 43 minutes of music contained within the album. That is because the duo of Barille and Meister incorporate rock, heavy metal, and maybe even some blues into their style. So it is this musical blend that creates a continuously shifting base for the music. And this shifting helps keep the music blend fresh for the entire length of the band’s album.
At some points, the album is low-key. And at other times, the music is loud and energetic. And some tracks on the album have both extremes running through the music at various points.
The music contained within Deliver This Creature from Mr. Gnome is created by guitarist/singer Nicole Barille and drummer Sam Meister. And while Meister does an excellent job of providing the ever-changing styles needed to create the beat on each of the tracks, it is Barille’s ability to create different musical deliveries on the guitar depending on which direction the duo wants to head in. Together, Barille and Meister prove to the listener that they both have the talent to create such wide array of styles throughout their songs.
Along with being the band’s guitarist, Nicole Barille also handles the vocal duties. Barille has a vocal quality that is both clear and strong. This helps her sing some parts with a laidback approach, and helps her give the songs a harsher delivery when the song demands it.
While there may be tracks that are stronger than others on “Deliver This Creature,” by Mr. Gnome, the album seems to flow easily from one track to another. In fact, with the ever-changing styles contained within the release, the listener is almost compelled to allow the album to play out from beginning to end.
Two musicians created the album, but there is surprising depth to the release. Part of the reason for the fullness of sound on the release comes from the additional help from some musician friends that added final touches to the songs. Another reason for the rich sound comes from the production quality on the album: With reverb and other effects, even the sparsest tracks on the album sound full.
Having released only a few EPs before, this is the first full album from Mr. Gnome. For being a debut album, Deliver This Creature is very strong and entertaining. If you like finding new and different bands, Mr. Gnome is worth checking out. And they are definitely worth watching in the future as much more is expected from the duo.
To find out more about Mr. Gnome and their release of “Deliver This Creature,” go to the band’s website at www.mrgnome.com. You can also find them on MySpace at www.myspace.com/mrgnome. To learn about the record label that released the album, go to www.elmarkorecords.com.