Helium – Pirate Prude

ARTIST: Helium  Heliumpirateprude
TITLE: Pirate Prude
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: XXX was an MTV video. You saw it on Beavis & Butthead. No really, you did!
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really, no.
LINEUP: Mary Timony, Shawn King Devlin, Brian Dunton.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Ex-DC scenester (Timony) moves to Boston, becomes lead singer and guitarist of a trio, and releases an EP of compelling post-grunge with angular, odd guitars, slow-ish tempos, and spooky high vocals mixed low.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Yeah, I saw the video on Beavis and Butthead and was quite intrigued. The music seemed slow and off, and that was the point. Something always seems a bit off with Helium’s songs, but what’s off is what holds them together.

Timony’s voice is mixed in the back of the clatter, as was the norm with some bands of that time. But her vocals have a narcoleptic element to them that makes them blend perfectly with the music. Her look, a sad-faced baby doll, added to it as well.

To this day, in every other band or project that she’s been in, I can pick out her guitar.

NOTES & MINUTAE: This is a song cycle, but it’s in reverse order so the end of the cycle is the first song on the album. The subject matter is dark – innocent girl is lured into prostitution and then becomes a cold-eyed killer.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A- : “XXX” is the key cut – the others are fine examples of the odd and strange world of Mary Timony.

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