A horrible hack

Helen

Original Faces

Year Released: 2015
Format: LP
Label: Kranky
 
Reviewed by MH on Oct 11, 2015
Helen have someone called Helen on backing vocals. I don't know much about her apart from her first name but am slightly more familiar with a couple of the other members of this band in Liz Harris, of Grouper, and Jed Bindeman, of Eternal Tapestry. The blurb said that this initially started out as a thrash project but what we have here is shoegaze, and it's shoegaze that sounds the way I want it to - it's drenched in fuzz and reverb and the vocals are pretty yet murky and blurred. Helen's vocals are a fitting match for those of Liz Harris. Lyrically I have little idea of what is being sung but it matters not. The distance and blur of the vocals are an integral part of the feel and atmosphere of the record. Live they'd likely be making a huge, shimmering and wobbly racket. I was chatting to a friend a while back about shoegaze and we talked about how we like shoegaze to create that wobbly, almost queasy feeling especially when loud. This record does that - even the opening warped and messed-up tape sample that leads into "Ryder" has this effect. "Motorcycle" has something of "Eight Miles High" about it - remember when Ride covered this one? The shimmer and fuzz are broken up by a couple of lighter, more airy tracks featuring a more jangly guitar sound that lean more into dream pop territory - "Covered In Shade" is pretty much a pop song. The drifting instrumental title track makes for a nice subdued ending. All in all it's a good listen and one that fits in with shoegaze bands of the 90s - MBV, Ride, Slowdive, Lush etc...all that good stuff. I should send this to my brother - he's absolutely mad for this kind of thing.


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