What a stunning, beautiful album the threesome of one Helms and two McCarthys have come up with here. Most evidently referencing Karate and Sonic Youth, Helms add the beautiful CBGB-punk of Television and Velvet Underground-inspired soundscapes to the mix, and in the process create such lovely tracks as the uncomfortable thrilling “At Night the Ringing Filled Their Rooms…” and the subdued “The Ten Thousand Things.” McCarthy is a collection of songs that float around in one of those claustrophobic dreams in which the walls are closing in on you and it seems impossible to escape the inevitable or even to resist it. And while “The Skills You Need to Succeed in the 20th Century” may need an update on the title, Helms are nothing but highly contemporary and risk-taking music, bravely exploring and expanding their limitations. “Robots Are Great…” sounds a bit like some weird post-rock take on “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” but that is the odd one out. Everywhere else, Helms have delivered a stunning album, and one to treasure.

Kimchee Records: http://www.kimcheerecords.com

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