Glaswegian psychedelic heavyweights Helicon are release their second LP This Can Only Lead to Chaos this Friday via Fuzz Club Records and BSM is privileged to bring you the premiere.
The album follows on from their 2017 self-titled debut and a recent three-track Zero Fucks EP, released in 2019. A 9-track effort, it sees the band delve even deeper into their self-confessed “evil psych rock with smatterings of sentient sitar” – coming out of the other end with something more raw and heavy, and far closer to the all-consuming live show that they’ve spent the last decade frying minds with.
As angry and acerbic as ever, vocalist and guitarist John-Paul Hughes says of the themes explored on the album: “We are living in unprecedented times. This age of greed, individualism, fear, ignorance and manipulation of the masses has brought us to the point we are electing predatory liars and con men who bully and discriminate, then wear it as a badge of honour. They encourage and embolden others to follow suit then wash their hands of the consequences like some fucking modern-day Pontius Pilate and his privileged prick pals. We live in a society that denies climate change. We make stupid people famous. The Sun is the best-selling newspaper. Ed Sheeran is named ‘artist of the decade’. There are more food banks than McDonalds in the UK. The whole shit house is going up in flames whilst fuckwits watch Love Island and flick through which filter to apply to their latest selfie.”
As such, JP says the album – made at Glasgow’s Anchor Lane Studio with Luigi Pasquini (The Cosmic Dead, Trembling Bells, Acid Cannibals) – is inspired by “the rejection of mediocrity and mundanity. A shared spirit of rebellion that things can be better and the fucking balls to make it happen.” So, how do Helicon go about sticking a finger to the mediocre? Through a shape-shifting blast of transcendental sitar, oscillating synths, motorik bass-lines, echo-soaked vocals and huge walls of guitar thick with phaser and fuzz, cranked all the way up to 11, as per.
Mirroring the times it’ll be released into, This Can Only Lead to Chaos is an often dark and foreboding affair. Take the menacing instrumental album-opener ‘Sound of Confession’ which “sets the tone of impending doom” and the warped, swirling noise of lead-single ‘What You Love Will Kill You’, described as a “cautionary tale on the pursuit of excess.” That’s not to say there aren’t moments of optimism though, the glorious sitar-heavy jam ‘The Sun Also Rises’ being a fine example; acting as a much-needed reminder that “in dark times there is always hope.” In-between the more esoteric moments in which they cite inspiration from Aleister Crowley, Thelema and Magick (see tracks like ‘In The End’ and ‘Bardo Thodol’), the band are also masters at dealing in an often-hilarious, tripped-out hedonism, both thematically and sonically.
‘Glasgow Uni Accent’ is “a little social commentary on the fake, pretentious mystery dialect adopted by wannabe middle-class hipster pricks in Glasgow” and the huge, anthemic ‘Pure Filth’ is a “story of obsession channeling Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters’. All before the off-kilter, psychedelic ambient of ‘Cosmic John’ brings the record to a suitably experimental close. The closing track described as a “wander full of wonder through the mind of a maniac, featuring a conversation about Joan Collins and the Illuminati living under Denver Airport.” On their new album, Helicon have emerged with a record that sees them at their most forthright and ambitious and–delivered with the kind of wit only five disgruntled Glasweigians could muster–it couldn’t have arrived at a better time.