Noise Ratio Releases ‘Songs On Fire’ – Review
Just do it. While that tag line instantly conjures up a major corporation, the message is one that Jeff Valput has apparently taken very seriously. Without the benefit of any formal musical training or the ability to read music, he has been creating his own unique music for some time. He just did it.
Valput, under the artistic name Noise Ratio, has just released his debut album, Songs on Fire. The album was a true solo project, with Valput as writer, musician, and singer. The genre is closest to adult alternative rock, but there’s new wave, prog, and bits of this and that.
While Valput performed all the instrumentation, the emphasis is on piano and synths. The overall feel of the album is clear, crisp music that plays off Valput’s monotone vocals. The first single and video, “Freed Love,” is a perfect example. The piano moves from airy to dark and heavy. Drums keep a heartbeat throughout while the vocals maintain the middle ground.
“Trial And Error” has a stronger synth line, a smidge of Thomas Dolby perhaps. It’s tone is weighty, the lyrics are as well. “No Dice, no luck. No use, what the fuck.”
“Keeping Silent” is complex. It starts big, dense with instrumentation. The sound, powered by some creative drumming, floats around you as Valput’s voice acts as a tether, stabilizing the sound.
“Lost In Thought” opens with a synth gong just to get your attention. Again, this is a song heavy on electronics but the vocals have a lighter, almost sing-song hook. There’s an ominous feel to “Cage Of Emotion.” Pulsating rhythm through the synth and drums keep the feeling of uneasiness from start to end.
“Free Falling” is prog in all its glory. It’s a little spacey with changes in tempo. Valput also offers movement in his vocal style. “Seeking The Truth” is much more orchestral and theatrical. Big sound cedes to individual instruments, each taking a turn in the forefront.
The album ends with “Blinding Love,” one of the stronger pieces on the album. Valput excels in creating the most value that can be pulled from each instrument. His melodies are intricate and move from subtlety to overpowering. His arrangements are a stew where spices are continually added to create a seamless blend.
Valput’s vocals are fairly consistent on the album. There’s not a huge range and at times they feel strained. They may not resonate with a huge audience, but his flatline style plays against the lushness of his melodies quite well. As a self-taught musician, his music is more than slightly interesting, making Noise Ratio command notice.
Review by Kath Galasso @KatsTheory
Noise Ratio facebook page
Listen to Songs on Fire on Bandcamp
- Freed Love
- Trial and Error
- Keeping Silent
- Left Alone with My Beliefs
- Lost in Thought
- Cage of Emotion
- Falling Behind Time
- Free Falling
- Seeking the Truth
- Blinding Love