Personnel: Rebecca Coseboom (vocals).
Audio Mixer: John Fryer.
John Fryer's reputation as one of the two key architects behind This Mortal Coil, not to mention production and engineering work for any number of bands from Wire to Cradle of Filth and HIM, meant that DarkDriveClinic, his duo effort with singer Rebecca Coseboom, gained understandable attention. Perhaps understandably, Noise in My Head fits in sonically much more with the later bands he worked with rather than the earlier -- there's little immediately suggestive of something like It'll End in Tears outside of the opening "Crawl," which shows that Fryer's interest in shadowy atmospherics has hardly disappeared, but if it's a short instrumental on the one hand, it's one that changes in sentiment partway through, from deep rumbles to soft whooshes. It's this sense of polish and control that stands out all the more throughout Noise in My Head, starting with "The Offering," with Coseboom's vocals and the feeling of gothic command coming across as being in line with acts like A Perfect Circle or the Gathering. But in the end, the problem with the album is that it feels so much like those bands that it's less a striking salute to his earlier pioneering days, and more a second coming of something like Evanescence, minus the rapping, as songs like "Litmus Head," with its distorted chorus in particular, and "Breathe Shallow" show. Raging choruses, calmer glitchy verses, and above all, an ultimately constricting formalism come to the fore -- it's all very mannered in its approach, and is easier to admire than love. That said, the slow burn melodrama of songs like "Find the Flaw" and Coseboom's excellent singing are quite striking regardless. Meanwhile, when "Still Contagious" changes up the general pace of the album from lugubrious to suddenly thrashy and spiky, it's a much needed charge of energy, while the cheerier, brighter feeling of "Bite My Tongue" is another plus. ~ Ned Raggett