Chris Helme, who first rose to prominence as the front man of John Squire’s post-Stone Roses band ‘The Seahorses’ will release his brand new solo album on August 27. Helme is still rightfully remembered for the anthemic Britpop classics Love Is The Law and Blinded By The Sun - songs that evoked everything about the 90s: the excitement, the culture and the bands that provided a voice in a period of political and social imbalance.
Helme’s is an enviable back catalogue, bolstered further by his acclaimed work with The Yards; and The Rookery’s knack for melody and imaginative, intricate, three-way guitar interplay now brings his music to new and lush, blossoming climaxes.
Recorded in just 9 days at The Rookery, a country hideaway nestled in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales, the album reveals a beguiling vulnerability in both Helme’s voice and lyrics. The wonderfully restrained Darkest Days’ somber refrain, ‘Following you leads me astray’, rings out with the sentiment of changing direction, as Helme puts paid to past misdemeanors; on the forthcoming single Long Way Round, Helme is found resolute in his plaintive cry, ‘Now you’ve found yourself, you’re on your own’. An apt lyric indeed as his solo path turns this dramatic corner.
There is plenty on offer here as Helme and producer Sam Forrest (Nine Black Alps) showcase their depth of sonic understanding: fuzzed out guitars are married with distorted Mellotron, melting strings, whistling feedback and haunting orchestral vocals. Melodies rooted in traditional folk structures are vividly reimagined on an album of startlingly rich variation. Even the Rolling Stones’ stomp of Daddy’s Farm bookended between the blues filth of Pleased and the gorgeously mellow Summer Girl, doesn’t stick out, testament to Helme’s most powerful weapon – his voice.
This aspect to his music was never in question. From the earliest days of his career, his voice always commanded attention, and The Rookery’s variationis seemingly bound by this one continuous thread. File next to CSN&Y, Led Zeppelin 3, Buckley, The Coral, and enjoy.
Album release: Chris Helme, The Rookery
Release date: August 27 2012
Label: Num Num Music
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