Helm

Chemical Flowers
Helm
Chemical Flowers

First things first – that cover! A favourite of recent times – a duo (trio?) of glistening alien flora/fauna that look like they might taste LOVELY pan-fried and served on sourdough with a coupla of poached eggs. Putting the fact that this is the most BRUNCHABLE Helm album to date, it’s also the rangiest and, I think, most accomplished, expertly alchemising classic industrial/concrète energies into contemporary weightless (ahem) post-rave sound design. Like 2015’s shitegeist-capturing Olympic Mess, its clear and vivid setting is fallen London, 2019 - see especially the oppressive dawn-on-the-DLR ambient of ‘Capital Crisis (New City Loop)’, and the powerful one-two of bleak, entopic techno gravediggaz, 'Body Rushes' and 'Lizard In Fear' (reminiscent of recent frontline club dispatches from Heith and Xyn Cabal). This is top-drawer stuff, but it's also to some degree expected - the logical extension of ideas from Olympic Mess and 2017's Rawabet tape. The surprises come elsewhere: try 'Leave Them All Behind', gauzy minimal in the vein of Jan Jelinek or, as its darkside leanings become clearer, the new Pessimist & Karim Maas stuff; and 'I Knew You Would Respond', with Jim ‘Foetus’ Thirlwell’s louchely swaying, eastern-inflected strings summoning his cracked-cabaret arrangements for Marc & The Mambas, combining with a steppers drum loop to give the whole thing, strangely, a very trip-hop, very Nellee & Marius or William Orbit, dare we say BOND vibe – inviting us to imagine Luke Younger, not Idris Elba or Richard Madden, as Daniel Craig's natural heir. Thirlwell also shades in ‘Toxic Racecourse’, this time channelling more nightmarish, Penderecki/Morricone-ish crime-and-dissonance vibes and the spiky quasi-classical bombast of his Manorexia project. Quality. Pass the brown sauce!  

 

 

£17.99

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