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Helms - McCarthy

Front Cover

Full-length CD
Nov 2002

On McCarthy, Helms makes music married to the sensate world. Their songs are testaments to the act of being and the life cycle. It's all in the dynamics, as gentle waves of guitar sound intimating the quietness of birth give way to super squalls of notes and energy, much like life's buffeting winds. Then there are the retrenchments back into silence, and not just at song's end. This is not so much like death as a gathering of strength before the next go-round.

The words as sung/spoken by guitarist Sean McCarthy (who with drumming brother Dan McCarthy shares the title of this disc, while the band name's source is bassist Tina McCarthy, whose maiden name is Helms) are mostly concerned with seemingly simple insensate objects which, when acknowledged via lyrical focus, gain totemic power. Their own instruments are self-reflexively appointed to such status in the lyrics (see "It Takes Skin To Win"), as are the homely household objects found and itemized in a dresser drawer (see "Cornish, New Hampshire"). It is Helms's art to place such articles in a firmament of meaning. In Helms's universe even elemental experience, expressed with the shout of "I've got!," becomes an essential act of becoming. Meanwhile the trinity of guitar, bass and drums restlessly search for novel ways to punctuate, embellish, and link the micro-imagery to forces far more sublime.

Some have compared Helms to other practitioners of the Chicago School of Post-Slint Rock. With McCarthy, their second album, they take their place at the head of the class--not that such an unassuming band would ever feel comfortable there.

Helms [bio]


The Hypochondriac's Last Words
It Takes Skin to Win   > mp3 (2.5MB)
At Night the Ringing Filled Their Rooms Like the Bells of Distant Churches
The Skills You Need to Succeed in the 20th Century
Nothing Can Keep Us From Stopping (Reprise)
The Ten Thousand Things
Nothing Can Keep Us From Stopping
Horace: Age 19; Powers None
"Robots Are Great, But Are We Ready For Them to Dance on Their Own?"
Cornish, New Hampshire

How to order

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6 Sagamore Road
Ipswich MA 01938

International customers can also purchase online from:

Sonic Rendezvous (NL)
Broken Silence (DE)
DiscMedi (SP)
Music Farmers (AU)

Last modified: Friday, 25-Jun-2010 14:16:41 PDT   [ Catalog | Bands | Listen | Who we are | Contact | Press ]