Helen Love – Smash Hits
Having first formed back in 1992, Ramones-obsessed cult Welsh power pop band Helen Love blast back with their blistering eighth studio album and prove that they haven’t lost their knack for their brand of catchy and quirky pop songs.
Right from the off, the band blast through a collection of awesome tracks (all clocking in at under four minutes in the best pop tradition) that cannot fail to put a smile on your face, listen to Smash Hits and you’ll feel ready to take on the world with a huge grin on your face.
The album opening track The First Welsh Girl In New York City lays out the bands statement of intent with its energetic catchiness and the obvious tributes to both the Ramones and the city that spawned them are a joy to behold, the song is littered with Ramones references as is the rest if the album (not surprising given the bands love for and links to Da Brudders from Forest Hills) as well as some inspired Beastie Boys samples that shout out NYC and is the perfect way to start the album.
The next 11 songs that follow are no less catchy and energetic as the opener and on songs like the frenetic Mario Kart Grand Prix…Lets Go, the obviously 80s pop indebted tribute to the Prince protege that is Sheila B. Devotion and the glam stomp of Spaceboy, Helen Love let their imagination run riot in a musical storm that is as fun as music gets. The Ramones love that runs throughout the band’s outlook and sound explodes in big style on the brilliantly titled You Can’t Beat A Boy Who Loves The Ramones, just listen to the lyrics for some perfect pop culture references and you certainly won’t find a catchier song this year.
The song on Smash Hits that sums Helen Love up the most is Yes We’re In A Band That We Love, an infectious salute to the band and their music that you can’t fail to get caught up in the bands sheer exuberance, a trait that consumes the album in the best possible way.
Elsewhere there is a series of touching and uplifting tracks such as Thank You Polystyrene (Helen Loves tribute to the legendary late X Ray Spex singer and icon), Long Live The Modern Lovers and The Belle Of St Mark that still sound as upbeat and catchy as the rest of the songs on Smash Hits.
The album is packed full of the aforementioned pop culture references and samples and that just add to the fun, where else would you find a song on an album that references both Ghostbusters and Bonnie Tyler on the same track in 2016!
When Helen Love end the album with the electropop of Stardust and Glitter, you will have had one of the most fun musical experiences of your life and that is no exaggeration, so much so that repeated listens are not only recommended but a necessity and the more you listen to the album, the more fun it gets.
Smash Hits is so infectious it should carry a health warning and is the sound of euphoria and energy colliding in the most uplifting way possible. The perfect album for the summer and one that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face forever, stop whatever it is you’re doing and go and buy this album!
Helen Love- Smash Hits out now via Alcopop Records– http://www.ilovealcopop.co.uk/artist.php?id=92
Words: Gavin Brown