The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

April 11, 2014

Music review: Helen Kelter Skelter offers psychedelic gem

NORMAN — Musician: Helen Kelter Skelter

Album name: Self-titled

Why you should listen: Helen Kelter Skelter is a Norman band comprised of Eli Wimmer, Cody Clifton, Nathan Harwell, Jay Jamison and Tim Gregory. Their band’s name is a tongue twisting mash-up of the American deaf and blind political activist Hellen Keller and Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.” The band has released a new eponymous EP with three original compositions and two remixes of the first and third tracks. The disc clocks in at a fleeting 17 minutes of playing time.

It was produced by the band members, mixed by Trent Bell at Bell Labs in Norman and mastered by Ben Lindesmith. Attractive cover art is by Shelby Stong. Helen Kelter Skelter has shared little about themselves at their website or anywhere on social media. Rather than divulging what instruments they play, there are less than helpful designations next to each name such as “Mad Scientist” (Jamison) and “Technician of sorts” (Gregory). So the question arises: Should they be taken seriously? And the answer is yes because their music is good.

The physical CD copy of this album was passed on the old fashioned way of one handing it to another. When asked what Helen Kelter Skelter sounds like the one word description was “psychedelic.” That’s accurate after a fashion. The group indeed bears similarities to early bands from that genre such as Quicksilver Messenger Service and Blue Cheer. Helen Kelter Skelter also recalls fusion jazz including Weather Report and Return to Forever. The remix track of “Wish List” is even complete with zooming asteroid space sounds, a Joe Zawinul synthesizer trademark during the 1970s. The first version of “Wish List” is heavy as a pile of bricks. It’s the hallucinogenic rock of ominous vocals, insistent guitar riffs and bad-ass percussion. “Some Tight Rope” has more of a folk rock sound with meandering melody, highly discernible lyrics, measured guitar licks and twinky keys. “You’ll Get Your Money Back” reverts to intense testosterone-fueled rock ‘n’ roll. You won’t want your money back for this little psychedelic gem.

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