The Upshot: Boston post-punk/alt-indie outfit is a major new force on the Amerindie underground.
BY FRED MILLS
Gotta love the internet “tag ‘em” culture. We are advised, reassuringly, that this Boston outfit is “alternative,” “alternative post rock,” “indie,” “post-punk,” and – ahem – “post-alternative.” Well, THAT pretty much covers all the bases. How about the rest of you kids? Are you actually prepared to listen to a new record, or have someone on Reddit tell you about it?
“Show, don’t tell” is an axiom well-worth heeding, and Black Helicopter takes that ethos even further on this staggeringly great four-song 12”. The BH braintrust comprises guitarists Tim Shea and Can Keskin, bassist Mike Davis, drummer Matt Nicholas – for this EP it was just Shea and Nicholas holding down all the slots, plus Zach Lazar pitching in on bass – and you can tell they have no truck with standing around and mumbling about what they’ve done, what they are doing, what they plan to do, etc. They just fuckin’ DO IT.
To wit: Right from the get-go, opening track “And I > “Drive at Night” drills down deep into vintage Pavement/Smashing Pumpkins twisted anthemism, a deep melodic bent countered by a pervasive affection for dissonance. Not to mention psychic discombobulation:
“FYI if you get inside this mind
Every time you try
It’s just another thing that I
That I put inside my mind
And if it doesn’t fit quite right…”
A couple of tracks later, “Show of Hams” serves up clanging chords against a low, bruising bottom end that chugs ‘n’ sways with purposeful resolve; somewhere in the middle, a synth sonic nonsequitur appears, outlandishly and irresistibly. The nearly eight-minute title track polishes things off, a neo-waltzing, droning instrumental that arcs skyward, gospel-like… if Sonic Youth were a gospel group, that is.
Everything Is Forever is, ultimately, a worthy new signpost for the Amerindie underground. Four songs is not nearly enough to fully judge a band by, but I’m prepared to go out on a limb and say that Black Helicopter is also a major new force on the aforementioned underground.
Consumer Note: The 12″ EP comes pressed in glistening ruby vinyl. Yum. But wait, as the saying goes, there’s more! Also housed in the thick outer poly sleeve is a 12×12 wooden platter. Yes, WOOD. Not cardboard. Talk about sturdy: no chance of LP warping for these gents, nope. Interestingly, it looks a lot like the wood paneling down in the kid’s basement playroom at Mom & Dad’s house; I’ll have to drop by to see if there are any missing sections. For additional motivation, preview tracks from the album at their Bandcamp page.
DOWNLOAD: “Everything Is Forever,” “And I > Drive at Night”