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A Whisper In The Noise

We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it’s too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that’s slightly off the beaten path.

Album: To Forget by A Whisper In The Noise (out now on Exile On Mainstream)

Press play if you like: Faded photographs, lingering doubts, buried memories, ghost stories


Some background: Championed by both M. Night Shyamalan (who used the band’s music on the soundtrack for Lady In The Water) and Steve Albini (who produced its new album and took the group on tour), A Whisper In The Noise is starting to get heard. That said, the Minneapolis-based duo of West Thordson and Sonja Larson has been at it for a decade. During that time, it’s built up a haunting, night-hungry sound that’s reached a minimalist crescendo with the new To Forget. From abstract dream-drones to alluring shoegaze to threads of sawing, sighing dissonance, it’s an elusively beautiful work of atmosphere. Wielding torturously slow beats, watery reverb, and Larson’s softly bruised vocals, “Every Blade Of Grass” owes a debt to its neighboring coed outfit Low; saturated in piano and echo, “Of This Sorrow” shimmers like distant lights. Albini’s production—which captures footsteps, nervous shuffles, and insectoid, field-recorded ambience—only adds to the clouded luster. For all its moodiness, though, To Forget carries enough mystery and melody to keep it pirouetting on the perpetual edge of implosion.

Try this: The most catchy and immediate song on To Forget is “Black Shroud,” a shuddering, shimmering hymn full of ebbing bass and chiming treble. As Thordson and Larson harmonize drowsily, their voices curl around each other like smoke and fog.

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