Sean McCarthy's vocals are often whispered low in the mix or coarsely shouted away from the microphone, but are just as likely to be left out all together in favor of deeply layered instrumental patterns. Lyrically, McCarthy speaks in vivid and dream-like prose and thematically gives equal attention to the finite (thumb tacks, G.I. Joes and Pac-Man) and the infinite (the sky and the stars.) Guitar parts involve a great deal of tapping, sometimes with two separate melodies being played on the same instrument at the same time ("It Takes Skin To Win" from McCarthy) or with McCarthy using his chin to mute the strings while tapping with both hands ("Fatbird" from Secret Doors.) The percussion compositions are often dizzying, stammered and mechanically repetitive rhythms. The dynamics and speed of the drums are typically restrained and are only occasionally loosed through selected choruses and interludes that border on post-hardcore (perhaps similar to a more frantic June of '44.) The bass lines in comparison are almost always the most subtle voice rhythmically.
Appropriately understated and carefully placed progressions outline each passage. Helms released their first full-length record The Swimmer in 2000 and followed in 2002 with McCarthy, issuing both through Kimchee Records. 2006 saw the band release Secret Doors on their own label, Plants & Brains. A vinyl release of Secret Doors was put out by History Major Records.
Drummer Dan McCarthy created the artwork for all three Helms full-length records, and is a noted poster designer and screen printer. Before Helms, Dan played drums in Dagobah and Sean and Tina played together in the band The Television Set. The band was briefly named The Swimmer before changing to Helms, which was taken from Tina's last name. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more