dinsdag 29 april 2014

Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors


Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors
Suburban/Sargent House – 2014
Sludge, Experimental, Psych
Rated: *****

Starting off a mention like this with the remark that an album is simply indescribable, indescribable good and genre-defying indefinable is never a good idea. But we did it anyway and now will have to make due. The first two records by Helms Alee released on the now defunct Hydra Heads Records were already heavy laced with ideas and possibilities but somewhere along the way failed to make their point. Well, the new album Sleepwalking Sailors knows exactly where to stick the pointy edge. Released via Sargent House which also features notorious bands like Deafhaven and Boris the Seattle trio drives it home on eleven tracks that exact vengeance on all those concepts that escaped their grasp on their earlier releases. The almighty and sovereign sound was recorded analog and expertly captured by studio genius Chris Common (Chelsea Wolfe, Pelican, Isis). Their radical sludge, ice cold post rock and snide digs of wave and psychedelica leaves the listener breathless, uneasy and in awe. The female vocals by bass player Dana James and witchy drum beast Hozoji Matheson-Margullis cast off like bouncing stones against the waves of brutal screams by guitarist Ben Verellen. Which could or should be used even more I reckon; for this sweet and sour, acid and base approach is what Helms Alee does best. It is a drainage of opposites that just gets more condensed as it whirls and twists it way towards the inevitable end. Sleepwalking Sailors is a massive thunderstorm with bursts of sunlight interspersed; it seems like magic and it enchants like a snakelike rainbow biting its own tail. And there’s no way for you to dodge the lightning…

(Written by JK)

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