Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
mr. Gnome makes we think about finger and footprints. When the right lights are shown on the surfaces and grounds, these prints pop out and it's made perfectly clear - everywhere in the Cleveland, Ohio band's songs - that no one's alone. As a matter of fact, the people in mr. Gnome songs couldn't be further from alone.
There's a stiff menace in the air, when Nicole Barille and Sam Meister write together. There are eyes, feet and fingers everywhere. Everything's littered with prints and tracks. The people try to overlook them, but they're everywhere. They can't wake up early or sleep in late and miss any of them. They're preserved and ready to be seen whenever they get out of bed. They've not gone away overnight. They've survived through the hooting of the hours and any of the thunderstorms that barreled through and turned the night sky even darker. They've survived - even added to - all of the broken bottles and glasses that are lying deader than fish on the ground at the bottom of the kitchen walls.
"Night of the Crickets" and "House of Circles" are songs where these prominent banshees are most leaving their marks, fully aware that they will be spotted and they will be questioned. mr. Gnome music splits the difference between the willies and a bird's nest full of fuzzy, soft and fussy baby birds. Barille's voice is sneaky and Joanna Newsom-ish in places and yet, much softer around the edges, more universally something of a rock and roll voice. Its eccentricities are what set it apart though, there's no doubt, and it infuses the lyrics with something of a raven's tale that gives you a feeling that there's an omen that could ring true at any moment. She and Meister play up these looming feelings of unease. They bring so many different voices into these reverbed out songs that you're sure they're in cahoots with all kinds of bogeymen, rubbing their crossbones necklaces together, showing their yellowed eyes and lightning-ed tongues.