Saturday, February 25, 2023

Helvetia - You shot past the moon scapegoat (2023)


Living in the near-mythical central New Jersey, a geographical location whose existence is hotly debated amongst state natives, I find myself frequently bemoaning my departure from Portland Oregon some 5 years ago. In fact, my decade living there in and of itself feels near-mythical - a life of reckless enjoyment full of intoxicants and rock music. Such a stark contrast to my life now...

The only thing gratuitous in my present life, however, is my commute to work. So much time on highways affords my ample time to listen to new music, at least. More often than not I seek new music from my old, Pacific Northwest home. 

Enter Helvetia, a Portland band who many know and love, especially if familiar with the group Duster, as both groups feature the musician Jason Albertini. Helvetia seems to be Mr. Alertini's personal outlet as principal songwriter and singer. 

Many of the releases are mp3 only, including this most recent release, You shot past the moon scapegoat. This was my entry to the bands discography, which spans nearly 18 years with over 20 releases (including split EPs with Built To Spill, which Jason Albertini was also a member of recently). 

This is a party that I am very late to.

I clicked with this music immediately. It's lo-fi and sounds as though it's made in a home studio. The songs have plenty of hooks and range from indie folk to more abrasive and noisy pieces. The song structures range from conventional to unconventional. There are themes of experimentalism and playfulness in much of the music on this release - a theme that extends throughout Helvetia's prolific and, frankly, stupefyingly brilliant discography. While trying to drum up comparisons to other bands/artists, I'm tempted to throw out references to Built To Spill or Pavement or even Velvet Underground - but even that doesn't quite do Helvetia justice. Mr. Albertini is of a class all his own, one that is more in line with the mad genius of R. Stevie Moore who is similarly lo-fi, experimental, and obsessively prolific. 

So highly recommended it got me off my ass to write a blog post after a long departure. 

16 songs.

Helvetia - You shot past the moon scapegoat