Helldorado ‘Bones In The Closet’ (CCAP)
I will admit that prior to hearing ‘Bones In The Closet’, I had never heard of Helldorado. This will be the case I suspect with anybody in the UK reading this, and it’s a crying shame that they aren’t more widely recognised – on the strength of this album (the band’s fifth) they are arguably one of the most original bands in the industry today. Original however doesn’t mean inaccessible – each track is delivered with an immediacy that most contemporary artists can only dream of. Musically, Helldorado seamlessly blend spaghetti western guitar work with mariachi horns with great success, and in places maudlin, blues infused piano parts creep in. Vocals are alcohol soaked and soulful, and lyrics paint fantastic, vivid images in the mind. Songs come in two flavours here; stories of outlaws, thieves and murderers (‘John McMiller’) or the plain unfortunate (‘Times Of Trials’), and tracks that are so brutally honest you can almost feel wounds appearing over your body.
Opener ‘Gallow’s Bird’ is the latter, the sound of a man giving up on just about everything “My day is done, and my race is run”, followed by ‘Misery and Woe’, probably the most honest post-break up song ever committed to record, with lyrics so utterly heart wrenching its closest comparison would be the ending of The Boy In Striped Pyjamas. ‘John McMiller’ is the story of a serial killer who has decided to retire, and ‘Please Come Back’ is probably the most obviously titled song on the album – a paean to the unseen ex-lover who jettisoned the protagonist in ‘Misery and Woe’. Other highlights in an album stuffed to bursting point with them are title track ‘Bones In The Closet’, a none too flattering character assessment – of whom, we don’t know – accompanied by a lazy, shuffling rhythm. ’69 Camaro’ is a love song of a very different kind. It’s absolutely sweating with testosterone; the love of a man for his car and that inextricable link prevalent in the mind of most petrol heads between a beautiful car and a beautiful woman.
‘Bones In The Closet’ is an album of atmosphere, of stirring emotion and vivid imagery. It’s fantastically produced with the dynamics and mood in each song presented perfectly. It’s an all-purpose album too, one that works whether in the car for a long journey, chilling out or to put on prior to a night out (or after it too, for that matter). Helldorado themselves are a band that deserve success, and I look forward to hearing more.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention – they’re Norwegian.
Here’s the David Lynch esque video for the album’s title track: