domingo, 8 de noviembre de 2009

Helmet - Betty (1994)

With the corporate rock cognoscenti frothing at the mouth to sign the next Nirvana, in 1991 a seemingly "nerdy" band from New York by the name of Helmet was about to set the world on fire -- at least on paper. Seemingly overnight, the Amphetamine Reptile faves had a fat check in their pockets and an astounding major-label debut by the name of Meantime. Eschewing Cobain's neo-punk/power pop instincts, Helmet opted instead for a more a minimalist approach, whereby rhythmic tension over 4/4 melodies reigned supreme. Now poised to step into their role as future darlings of a sound that can only be described as bludgeoning aggro-punk-atonal-rock, the band was propelled by a massive hype campaign and heralded as East Coast tastemakers du jour. But for all its accolades (mostly well-deserved), Meantime's commercial success sadly fell short of expectations and, by 1994, Helmet was giving it another try with Betty -- its second effort for Interscope. Label pressure notwithstanding, Betty had a lot more riding on it than even perhaps Hamilton was willing to admit. Lacking some of the tightly focused ferocity of Meantime, Betty appears to be an almost too well-thought-out affair and, ultimately, its songs miss out on some of the discreet melodic accents that had served to underpin even the most bludgeoning noise-fests on Meantime. Songs like "Wilma's Rainbow," "Biscuits for Smut," and especially "Milquetoast" have their moments, but don't quite live up to expectations. And although Helmet's tuned down, stop-go-stop dynamic (originally pioneered by New Yorkers Prong) would go on to influence hundreds of up-and-coming acts, their complete lack of image or star quality (a key ingredient to Cobain's magnetism, as much as he himself despised it) would play a major role in eventually doing them in. Betty initiated a commercial spiral for the quartet that not even the return to form and progress displayed by 1997's massive sounding Aftertaste could reverse. Source: [AMG]

Helmet - Milquetoast

Track Listing
1. Wilma's Rainbow
2. I Know
3. Biscuits for Smut
4. Milquetoast
5. Tic
6. Rollo
7. Street Crab
8. Clean
9. Vaccination
10. Beautiful Love
11. Speechless
12. The Silver Hawaiian
13. Overrated
14. Sam Hell


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