Helen - The Original Faces
Starting out five years ago with intentions of making thrash (metal?) Helen, a new pop group from Oregon lead by Liz Harris (of Grouper fame), finally release their debut album The Original Faces; essentially twelve tracks of celestial, lo-fi pop packed into an easily digestible 33 minutes. And with repeated listens comes a euphoric sense of being smothered, drenched in waves of ambient noise; the result is strangely serene. The walls of guitars and booming bass-lines, shrouded in Harris's muffled, melodic vocal hooks bring to mind the best of the 90's Shoegaze bands (Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins et al); highlights include Violet, Allison and Grace. It's not all dense aesthetic though, lighter moments like Covered In Shade (Sebadoh anyone?) and City Breathing bring balance and breathing space. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable excursion.
8/10 after 10 listens