Helen Kelter Skelter are an interesting band from Oklahoma, where believe it or not the music scene is thriving with unknown talent, and the venues filled with touring bands to play with. Their second helping is a hodgepodge of everything rock represents, and that includes every side of it and more. They dabble in just about everything including the avant-garde. It’s almost hard to know where they solidly stand as they find their way through this musical landscape, and it’s a good thing because it keeps you guessing the next direction they’re going as they plow their way through the eleven stellar tracks on – Melter.
“21st Century” opens the disc with a track that makes you want to hear what follows, and that’s enough proof right away that it’s going to be interesting to hear. Even though it’s mighty original, this has been done before but so has most rock ‘n roll.
It reminds of the transition from the 70s to the 80s when punk and new wave were the flavor of the week, however it totally delivers what’s been missing about it in the process. Once you get passed what is the intended industrial sound/production that never hurts the arrangement, it’s not hard to be impressed with this track with hit potential written all over it.
The attitude and vocal moxie is brought to another level on “Guud” with some bluntly explicit language to get the message across. I don’t know what the song is about, but it’s undeniably awesome when they get down to instrumental business. It doesn’t last into the following number though, which is “Palamino” with its upbeat gear switched firmly on.
It serves to improve as it goes, with “Minding” turning out a mesmerizing effort. This is where guitarist Jay Jamison goes mad scientist with a magical hook. Alternative rock bands used to all be this good, especially the ones from the west coast. This brings it back with more musicianship, just wait for the guitar solo and see.
“75” is acoustically spiced for a turn of events in the overall flow of things, and it surprises the situation with a playful track. Even if you’ve heard it all before there’s much on the album you haven’t. It’s a matter of using the right clichés to nail ears to the wall and keep them there, and they pull it off.
The vocal prowess of Eli Wimmer is in the league of every band of the 90s. But the instrumental passages blow many of those bands away. It depends on how much you like a song to stretch out and still-keep accessibly structured. That being-said, there is an evident but also disguised pop element to their songwriting craft.
They are still more instrumentally experimental than most pop and alternative rock bands, defying categorization in their own-right within the rock vernacular. For instance, you can be reminded of vocally driven bands and instrumental rock bands on the same coin. There’s no reason to limit or economize, as the music itself mingles instead of mocking. And the keyboard work is second to none.
You don’t get this every day, and the track “Time Bomb” shows that side of it. Also, worth noting are “Tracers” with its lovable- catchiness that takes grabs you by the eardrums. And the short but sweet “Fly Through The Clouds” both help earn this release top marks.