Helen Earth Band – Our Own Ghost City (2009)
I crossed paths with the pleasant rock & roll of Helen Earth Band because of an unsuspected e-mail. I was curious and let the music do its magic. And I must say that I liked what I found very much. “Our Own Ghost City” is a tight CD with spunky, passionate rock & roll and solid deliveries.
There are 13 songs that offer variety, energy and creativity. There are more uptempo songs, there are really catchy songs, there are songs that are more paced down, so whatever way you like. The songwriting may sometimes be a little conservative, but the band makes up in enthusiasm and execution.
“Our Own Ghost City” is an album that I play in my stereo with pleasure and while I imagine the album doesn’t completely capture the band’s live energy and passion, it still manages to excite me and make me want to listen to more Helen Earth Band songs.
So, will this album mean a breakthrough for Helen Earth Band? I doubt it. But it may very well open up new doors to new paths that might lead to a breakthrough. The album draws you in a little more with each listen, which is definitely a good thing. With a little growing and more experience I have a feeling this band can become a much more prominent name in the modern music industry.
Starting off with Shakencutt, the album is off to a pretty good start. The pointy rock & roll track mixes energy with paced down tempos and that contrast really works for the song. Fifteen Sixteen is one of my favorite songs on the album and I think it might have some radio potential also as it is quite catchy and when played a tiny bit faster it would make a splendid live song too.
Speaking of good live songs, Planemo, is very suited for live performances. It has energy, it has a very cool groove and it actually quite danceable too. One of the album’s top tracks. The smoother Life As A Passenger is very interesting and shows a more melodic side of the band that really comes forward nicely. They continue with Loud Enough To Locate which has a few really cool hooks and recognizable little parts in the melody. At first sight it may not be the most logical choice for a single, but I think it could actually do quite well.
The band shows a little more alternative powerpop/rock & roll sound on Empty Hand and it works very well. Great rhythm, good energy, excellent track. Would love to hear this one live. (We All) Talk With Knives isn’t my favorite on the album, but I have to admit it has a smooth flow and is actually quite catchy. Personally I think this track misses a little punch and excitement compared to some of the other tracks on the album. And Lullaby, which is up next doesn’t really keep me captivated either. It’s a nice change of pace and I do appreciate the build up and I like the vocals, but the song itself isn’t the most memorable on the album, even though the song’s finale is quite impressive.
The next song’s ironically called The Silence, because the spunky rock & roll track is played with balls and I love the energy in this song. It has a good groove and a nice rhythm and once it gets going, it is very convincing. The title track, Our Own Ghost City, is a track that grows on you. It took me several listens to hear all the subtleties and musical avenues in this song. The almost epic build up is impressive and the song is growing in energy with every note. One of the album’s highlights.
The more emotional laden Seventeen was one of the songs that I instantly liked. It might be an instrumental intermezzo but it does reach out to the listener, which is what it’s all about. I Won’t Wake Up is one of those tracks that I think would come across a lot better when you hear it live. I can hear the song’s potential but I am not entirely sure it is coming out entirely on the album track. The final track, Retain, I like. The clapping along in the track really helps to get the rhythm in your head and the strong vocal performance and overall feel of the song make for a suitable ending to this interesting album.
In short, “Our Own Ghost City” is a very promising album by a band that has all the goods and can deliver on it. To be commercially successful, the band might need to polish up things slightly here and there without losing themselves and their sound in the process. The groovy, laid-back rock & roll feel the band portrays on the album is something I appreciate a lot and I’m hoping the band will take a few risks on their next release and with a bit of luck and the right amount of promotion I think there might be cause to open the champagne sooner rather than later.