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CD REVIEW: Nora's Attic - Starving

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: Nora’s Attic
Album: Starving
Label: Independent Artist
Website: http://norasattic.bandcamp.com/

Genre: Alternative Rock, Epic Pop to Progressive Rock
Sounds Like: Evanescence, L7, Liz Phair, Tool, Sonic Youth
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Across & Below, Poison, Starving, Power and Greed
Weakness: Winded Songs, Over the top profanity, More solos please
 

CD REVIEW:

 

(Alberta CAN) Brainchild of siblings Bud Zomby and Charlene Wilson, Nora’s Attic began several years ago, as two aspiring musicians tried to create something meaningful, something meaty. Working with computer synth, a variety of drummers and bass players, the duo worked on refining their sound and improving their innate talents. After catching up Jimmy K. and Chris Kreed in its wake, the Attic surged forward into the Calgary music scene, finally complete and performing at a variety of venues to enthusiastic response.

 

The CD kicks things off with the “Poison” a rocking intro piece that serves up inviting instrumentation, well-crafted melodies and hard hitting vocal presence from Wilson and Zomby. This first hits hard and is comparable to a shot of gin. Track 2 “Across & Below” shifts gears a bit with its rocked out rhythm guitar painted against impressive musical build, dynamic vocal delivery against grand slam chorus. Track 3: “War Games” showcases even more songwriting brilliance from the Zomby/Wilson dream team. This piece delivers impressive vocal presence and well placed vocal harmonies that flow and ebb its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical textures reminiscent of classic vocal acts as Evanescence, L7, Liz Phair, Sonic Youth and yes even Tool. The music itself combines classic elements of Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Soul and even Epic Pop to Progressive Rock. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice impressive guitar chops, thick as a brick rhythm section, well placed solo guitar, and well placed vocal harmonies layered everywhere. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing impressive songwriting, hard hitting movements, rocked out instrumentation. Zeroing in now on Wison – her voice hits home as she makes the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection. Wislon can hold your attention well during some of the CD’s high intensity moments. This is not as easy as it sounds and when done properly will stop you I your tracks. Wilson executes well in this rocked out environment. Zomby/Wilson prove they are a Canadian Rock Band worthy of your attention and praise. The harmonies from Wilson/Zomby are well executed and their voices mesh well together. All engineering aspects check out (Mixing/Mastering). CD posses thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. From apocalyptic “Red Roses” to hard hitting “Power and Greed” and “Sorry” to heartfelt “Escaped” to hypnotic title track and “Holodomor” to this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 “Across & Below” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It’s hard to find any real noticeable weaknesses with this CD. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I like Wilson as a singer however she needs to give the profanity a break. There a time and place for this, I get all that - unfortunately the way Wilson does it feels over the top and overcompensating in places. I also wish there were more solo segments throughout the CD.

From start to “Starving” is an amazing collection of music by Nora’s Attic.  Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalogue. All pieces are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove and a rocking musical personality to call its own. The writing and playing abilities of this band are rock solid, the catalogue is highly diversified, progressive and dynamic. Last but not least the vocal presence and amazing dynamic duo of Zomby/Wilson just makes the whole thing work. Nora’s Attic rocks the house.    

Cyrus Rhodes