February 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors

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Helms Alee
Sleepwalking Sailors
Sargent House
Street: 02.11
Helms Alee = Hull + Akimbo
Hailing from the always-interesting Seattle scene, this is the third album for a group that continues to disregard genre boundaries and inspire even veteran acts like the Melvins with their creativity. Sleepwalking Sailors is fun, melodic and disjointed post-rock that gathers many influences without committing to any of them. There are constant shifts from moments that are heavier and metal-adjacent, to discordant, sludgy aggression, to traditionally comfortable melodic lines. Vocals tend to ride above and not on the melody’s waves and particularly, the female lines sometimes sound more spoken than sung. The songwriting is tight and economical, which doesn’t leave much room for atmosphere to linger, but this quality also sets them apart from post-rock contemporaries, who tend to go on walkabouts with their guitar lines. Whether or not it’s your cup of tea, this album is definitely not boring. –Megan Kennedy
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