August 28, 2006

Free Range Music: Helms' "It Takes Skin To Win" [MP3]

HelmsWe first encountered Boston-based act Helms and this track when reviewing the trio's angular and hypnotic set McCarthy four years ago [review]. The song has stuck with us for a number of reasons, and we dug out a mix CD (we know, how quaint) last week that prominently features "It Takes Skin To Win" and rediscovered its wonders all over again. The song is constructed out of quietly hammered-on guitar, patient bass and murmured, post-apocalyptic vocals about, it seems, a shipwrecked rock band: "...and they pulled their amplifiers from the ocean/soaked through and caked with sand..."

The part of the song that gets us jazzed everytime we play it occurs about 2:30 into the song during the extended bridge. Here the guitar continues its pulsing in-and-out in 4/4 time, but the bass hits a pedal and starts a countermelody in 3/4. The drums kick up sparks amid the weaving guitar and bass and the composition steers straight into the horizon and fades. It's pretty spectacular. Fortunately for you, you can download "It Takes Skin To Win" from Helms' MySpace page. We've saved you the trip and have linked to the file below. Helms released its third full length Secret Doors on its own label, Plants & Brains, Aug. 5. [Incidentally, we hope one day that our greyhound Ollie gets to meet their greyhound.]

Helms -- "It Takes Skin To Win" -- McCarthy
[just click]

Helms | Web site
Helms | MySpace

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