Noise Ratio - Songs on Fire

One can hear a touch of Nine Inch Nails running through "Trial and Error" error on Noise Ratio's Songs on Fire album. Maybe it's the track's moments of synth noodling that gives it a kind of Trent Reznor vibe at times. What sets this music apart from Reznor's, however, is Jeff Valput's organic, acoustic piano anchoring much of this album. Valput is the one-man band under the Noise Ratio moniker, and Songs on Fire is a 10-song collection of (mostly) dark musical and lyrical musings.

Based in West Virginia, Valput has been influenced by a lot of major downer acts, such as Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd. His songs are philosophical, as titles like "Left Alone with My Beliefs" and "Seeking the Truth" suggest. He many times sounds like a relatively traditional singer/songwriter, filtered through the vehicle of alternative and progressive rock.

The downside to Valput's recorded output rests with his darn near monotone singing voice. This lack of expression makes him sound eerily like an apathetic teenager at times, which is not appealing. He doesn't need to sing like a peppy, middle-aged homemaker, mind you, but a little more life in his larynx sure would have helped him better get his serious points across. Ironically, Noise Ratio Songs on Fire could have used just a little more of that hot stuff.

Noise Ratio - Songs on Fire

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