Noun is the mostly-solo side project of Screaming Females guitarist/vocalist Marissa Paternoster. I’ve been a big fan of Screaming Females over the years, but I’m not really sure what to make of Noun. Marissa sings in all of these songs and plays guitar, piano, and any other instruments not credited to the list of guest musicians in the liner notes. From the first track, “BlackLand,” and throughout the album, we hear Paternoster exploring her vocal range to good effect. She’s clearly a talented vocalist beyond being the eponymous screaming female in her main band. As an album though, Holy Hell is a bit all over the place. There are tracks that sound like they could easily have been Screaming Females singles, or tracks—like the aforementioned “BlackLand,” and “Call Earth”—which sound like something else entirely. The songs that don’t sound like Screaming Females were the tracks that most interested me on this, mainly the tracks where Marissa plays piano and sings. There was a very cabaret feel to these songs that I was into. While I was a bit more intrigued by the songs that didn’t sound like Paternoster’s main band, overall this didn’t move me the same way Screaming Females does.
–Paul J. Comeau (Don Giovanni)