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Helms: McCarthy

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if you like this you'll like: The Fall, Victory at Sea, Weights and Measures, The Shipping News.

REVIEW: Helms: McCarthy
10.19.2002 by Jon

Helms: McCarthy [Kimchee, 2002] (mp3s)

Three words? wet electric kiss

I'll have you know this is the first official CD review I've ever written. Fear not: the pump has been primed by many drunken nights spent in various basements of my sleepy coastal fishing community tearing various discs asunder, so I think I'm ready for the task. This will mark, however, the first time I've used words like 'asunder' and 'forewarned', so consider yourself forewarned.

Upon a first listen to McCarthy, one might be inclined to say: "Hey, it would be great if they all knew how to play their instruments. Or, you know, barring that, if their producer knew the words 'keeper' and 'not a' and 'definitely'". This would be a rather naive approach to what turns out to be, upon repeated spins, a delightfully sloppy listen. It is the aural equivalent of the first time you ever kissed a girl, boy, or what have you. Rushed, spitty, awkward, and perhaps a little bewildering. The word deluvian comes to mind, but, alas, it will only stretch far enough to describe the night I spent in a tree fort with Rebecca in grade ten, and not the music at hand.

With 'The Hypochondriac's Last Words', the CD rolls to an halting start, calling to mind the fledgling efforts of the Fall, or perhaps, the band your brother started last summer with his friend Guy. No matter. Once Sean McCarthy starts to mutter and wail over the tinny background created by this power trio (embarassingly enough referred to as a trinity in their bio), all is well. This guy's voice is like a hot shower on a cold fall night. Or a cold shower on a hot summer morning. Either way, it's refreshing.

Some of the more overtly instrumental songs might recall Ottawa's brilliant Weights and Measures, but for some reason I can't see the members of Helms telling Vice Magazine that Cornershop remind them of 12 year old girls with Care Bear panties around their ankles. No matter. You can tell they have been honing their skills through many a late evening. Maybe "5/4" was muttered more times than was necessary, but the results are pleasing enough to the ear.

The song titles would seem unwieldy under a lesser band's goonish hand, but Helms can make 'It Takes Skin to Win' and 'Robots Are Great, but Are We Ready For Them To Dance On Their Own?' work. By the time track five rolls around, I am genuinely interested in 'The Skills it Takes to Succeed in the 20th Century'.

I'm not gonna place any long distance phone calls back home to tell Ian that this record kills, but I will spin it a few more times in the privacy of my own home. You might want to as well, but, there are plenty of more pressing matters at hand for a music snob such as yourself.

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