The Quietus Reviews Helms Alee "Stillicide"


Helms Alee’s latest is also overflowing with riffs, though it’s significantly harder to categorise. The Seattle based trio seem to revel in this, and have somehow managed to carve out a very distinctive sound for themselves without ever confining themselves to any particular style. They’re often compared to the Melvins, despite not really sounding anything like the Melvins – presumably it’s because both bands love big, sludgy riffs but refuse to be defined by them, anchoring their madcap antics with an encyclopaedic knowledge of classic rock and punk and an inherent knack for song writing (of course it could just be because every slightly off-the-wall guitar band that’s formed in the last two decades is invariably compared to the Melvins, but hey, just go with us on this one, OK?).

Stillicide is their fourth and arguably most accessible opus, despite the fact that it experiences more wild mood swings between tracks than your average teenage headbanger. Whilst the cathartic ‘Tit To Toe’, for example, alternates between hoarse Scott Kelly-esque roars and the kind of unashamedly catchy chorus that Kylesa deployed on their last few albums, the next song ‘Meats And Milks’ takes a deep breath and offers a brief glimpse into an alternate universe where Kim Deal and Slint live together out in the desert and write country and western hits, before crashing back into grand stadium sludge riffery.

Elsewhere, the rampant, hyperactive and vaguely Lightning Bolt-esque ‘Galloping Mind Fuk’ does exactly what it says on the tin, then minutes later the shimmering ‘Creeping You Company’ slams its foot on the brakes and gives us a beautiful indie-pop ballad, whilst ‘Andromenus’ basks in luscious, moody melodies and jarring, jangly guitars like Belly gone goth before ‘Worth Your Wild’ closes the record, sounding like the end of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ stretched out into a gorgeous, aching doom anthem. All of these songs are bound together by Helms Alee’s unmistakable skill as song writers, and coalesce into a very varied, inventive and remarkably assured album.

Don’t forget to catch Helms Alee on tour with the Melvins and then Russian Circles starting in September. ALL dates listed below. For Show + Ticket details click HERE.

HELMS ALEE with MELVINS unless * noted

Aug 18 Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall
Aug 19 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue Theatre
Aug 20 Grand Rapids, MI - The Pyramid Scheme
Aug 22 Columbus, OH - A&R Music Bar
Aug 23 Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theater
Aug 24 Buffalo, NY - Iron Works -
Aug 26 Syracuse, NY - The Westcott Theater
Aug 27 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street
Aug 28 Hamden, CT - The Ballroom at The Outer Space
Aug 29 Providence, RI - Fete Ballroom
Aug 31 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
Sep 01 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
Sep 02 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *
Sep 05 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
Sep 06 Charlotte, NC - Amos' Southend
Sep 07 Charleston, SC - Music Farm
Sep 08 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
Sep 10 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
Sep 11 Jackson, MS - Duling Hall
Sep 12 Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone
Sep 13 Little Rock, AR - Metroplex
Sep 14 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
Sep 15 Oklahoma City, OK The ACM @ UCO Performance Lab
Sep 16 Norman, OK - Opolis
Sep 17 Austin, TX - The Sidewinder
Sep 18 San Antonio, TX - Paper Tiger
Sep 20 El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
Sep 21 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
with Russian Circles
Sep 24 Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Fest
Sep 25 Detroit, MI - El Club
Sep 26 Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace
Sep 28 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
Sep 29 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
Sep 30 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
Oct 01 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
Oct 02 Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
Oct 04 Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
Oct 05 Birmingham, AL - Saturn
Oct 06 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
Oct 07 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio
Oct 08 Austin, TX - Barracuda
Oct 09 Dallas, TX - RBC

HELMS ALEE with Guests
Oct 11 Phoenix, AX - Last Exit
Oct 12 Los Angeles, CA - Complex
Oct 13 San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern
Nov 22 Portland, OR - Lola's
Nov 23 Seattle, WA - The Crocodile