Black Helium - The Wholly Other
Black Helium are a four piece Psychedelic band based in London. With influences listed as Amon Duul II, Loop, Hawkwind, The Stooges, The Groundhogs, Spacemen 3 and Electric Wizard was intrigued when I stumbled across them by pure chance when a song popped up on Spottily....
yes, yes i know evil corporate money grabbers they are but I can't really bring a record player to work with me. As always I was as usual late to the party, fashionably late is highly debatable but I still arrived. No sooner had i delved into their first album the wonderfully titled "Primitive F**K" than I discovered their 2nd album "The Wholly Other" was due to be released on Riot Season Records on July 24th.
Starting with "Hippie on a Slab" wielding a hypnotic riff of a weight Ministry would be proud off and coupled with vocal melody that could be sonic youth its a strong opening statement as you cold hope for.
There are elements of trance and world music on centerpiece song "Death Station of the Goddess" clocking in at just over 10 minutes its a real close your eyes and float down stream moment...on the surface but at 7.15 point a noisy iceberg sinks your boat with an explosion of fuzzed up guitars and bass that is surprising and a curve ball.
The longest track on album "Pink Bolt" is the one I really love, Completely instrumental and loaded with a almost funk bass line from Beck Harvey and rock solid drums from Diogo Gomes that use power of repetition to allow guitars of Stuart Gray and Davey Mulka to build a layered wall of sound that climbs but never loose their focus
"Teetering On The Edge" winds down the whole trip with a mellowness that recalls zero 7 or Primal Scream at their most reflective
The press release states "Black Helium aim to deliver a lysergic heterogeneous sprawl on this, their second LP" That sums it up nicely but to stop there would be to do the Band a disservice. There is clearly more going on here than a retro psych band wishing it was 1973 forever.
This is an album of unexpected turns. So-much so that spoken word finale to mid album song "One Way Trip" states "The Reason the world doesn't make scene to you is because the world doesn't make scene to you" feels more like a badge of honor than a criticism .
This is a much heavier approach than the debut album and expands on their influences allowing more of them to filter in to the D.N.A. of the band and all the much better for it.
Inhale some Black Helium and enjoy where it takes you