Helta Skelta: Beyond the Black Stump 12"

Deranged Records


Helta Skelta is the newest face of Australian punk - there I said it. Granted they already have an album and a few singles under their belt, Beyond the Black Stump sounds very different from previous outputs and believe this is the album people have been waiting for them to write. It’s hands-down their strongest batch of songs, and the recording does them complete justice. The various elements of this album have always been there, swirling in the soup of varied influences and ideas these guys soak in, but this album smacks of a band getting its ducks in a row. In particular, Jon’s vocals have mellowed from an earlier, more aggressive hardcore delivery into a brilliantly snarky, deadpan, sardonic drawl that draws easy comparison to EDDIE CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING or X. The guitars are tight, choppy and bright, the bass and drums pin the beat down with straightforward but rock-solid rhythms.

Our take: Debut full-length from this Australian band who, despite having only a handful of releases to their credit, have already explored a pretty broad range of styles. I was curious as to what direction they would go in for the full-length, and the way I'd put it is that they've decided to go "full Australian." By that I mean that they have decided to fully embrace the laid-back, behind-the-beat groove that characterizes many of my favorite Australian bands of the past several years, including Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control, and UV Race. While they don't have the pop hooks of Eddy Current, the progressivism of Total Control, or the weirdness of UV Race, they do have a heaping helping of classic-sounding punk riffs that sounds like Radio Birdman and some classic '77 UK band like the Buzzcocks got together, smoked an absurdly large joint, and jammed out on some meandering yet catchy punk jams. I don't know what it is about bands that sound like they're going slow when they're actually going fast, but I'm a sucker for these kind of Krautrock-inspired grooves and Helta Skelta match them to classic punk songwriting just beautifully. A real winner, and looks like I'll even get to see this band live in the United States early next year!
Tags: 10s 77&KBD australia/nz garage melodic punk recommended