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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Helms
The Swimmer
Kimchee Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Making references to the eighties is very popular amongst rock groups these days. I know that this was the time when most people in rock groups were impressionable children. Still, people use this meaningless trivia as a call sign for the coolness of their band way too much. How many bands out there have name's that are some sort of eighties reference. (I must admit that I was guilty of this in my earlier days, but who the hell ever heard from the Pinchers of Power, not too many people, I'll tell you that much) The band Helms did not name themselves after a gizmo in Goonies, but they might as well have (One of the band members used to be in a band called Dagobah.) Their songs are jammed full of "dude, I totally grew up in the eighties" references. They talk about GI Joe, Pacman, Star Wars, Three's Company, etc. Now this is all well and good, but when you are trying to talk about things like a revolution of kids playing music to the sky or how the world and our lives can be continuously circular or how humbling the shortness of human life is, I don't know if eighties references are the best way to make your point.

Musically this band lands itself somewhere south of Karate and June of '44. The first song is pretty good, although the one riff jamming that finishes the song is getting alarmingly prevalent in these bands (especially this one as I find out later on in the CD). A lot of the songs are cool. The "ghosts with searching eyes" has some very interesting guitar and rocks its way to the finish line. Sonically, this band goes from loud to quiet with out sounding like they are trying, which is very unique. The band, admittedly, does not take us to places we have not been. However they do their shit good, so they are better than most other bands like this.

The vocals have a happy smugness to them. Why, I don't know, but it sounds like Sean McCarthy is on the verge of laughing almost half the CD. This can be tolerable or cute when it happens on one song, but it does not hold up on a full-length album. I mean it was disappointing enough when I figured out the delivery was the same speak/sing on every song, but it also has this smirk to it (I know smirk usually describes a facial expression, but these vocals have a smirk). Just listen to the way he talks about television on "the television set". It just seems like he is about to crack up. Can't get over it. Especially when he references GI Joe in "we must get there before dark, follow me". "GI Joe with his grizzled beard . . . will stare, when we are gone, forever towards the stars." Too much weight to put in these lyrics.

This CD runs a good length and the music is definitely worth checking out. The scope of the words paired with references gets tiresome, though. I could be too hard though. Maybe this band is really giving it something. Maybe you can be deep and hip to it at the same time. During the song, "the smallest world in the world", McCarthy sings "all the kids will point them (their amps) to the sky and play as loud as they can." In another time people would say, "yeah, this is a cool and stuff lets point our guitars to the sky and rock." But not this day and age, you just sort of say okay, maybe I'll get to it later. I've got all this shit going on, you know I am totally busy and shit. It's almost time for TRL

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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