Noah Anthony walks the line between dark pop and noise on the new Profligate LP, Somewhere Else. In doing so, he weaves minimal beats, synthesizer, electric bass, hushed vocals and sheets of droning noise into something larger than the sum of its parts.
First single "Enlist" acts as the album’s centrifuge – a flashing synth and electric bass drive the track directly into a thrilling accelerando where the instruments swirl madly. This track is the peak of the album's fevered middle third, which pushes the more meditative songs to Somewhere Else’s more languid bookends. The glacial title track achieves grandness by pairing hyper-detailed and minimal instrumentation with gorgeous vocals by Anthony and L.A. poet/musician Elaine Kahn, framed by an arrangement that allows a spacious build. "Black Plate" is the dark pop moment here, featuring airy lead vocals from Kahn above a stately beat all leading toward the refrain, "Touch what’s sweet like / There is no one home." Anthony’s live bass is in full force on this track with jazzy figures that respond to Kahn’s careful phrasing – if you’ve seen Profligate in the last year you know the bass is the secret weapon. These are just three tracks on this diverse collection that nonetheless feels like a cohesive song cycle.
Somewhere Else deftly balances seeming opposites – chaos and composition, melody and noise, programmed and live instrumentation, all with a distinctly human touch. Mastered by Carl Saff.