HELICON – SERAPH
Glasgow band share mesmeric, sitar-led beauty of ‘Seraph’
The first single from their long-awaited debut album
Glasgow’s Helicon have been staples of the UK’s underground rock scene since they formed back in 2009 and from then they’ve gone on to release eight EPs, tour Europe several times and share the stage with everyone from the likes of Wooden Shjips, The Warlocks and Dead Skeletons. Picking up an ever-growing reputation along the way the band are now finally set to release their long-overdue self-titled debut LP on December 8th via Fuzz Club – produced by Tony oogan at Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom Studio and housed in artwork by prolific artist Jean Marc Calvet.
Exploring themes of love and loss, drugs and drink, religion and politics, and life and death, Helicon’s new album is a collection of sprawling and expansive Eastern-sounding psych-rock. Rock’n’roll has always transcended geographical limits and with this in mind the band explain how the new record aims to explore all of psychedelia’s hazy, deeply-rooted ley-lines across the globe – from their native Scotland to the sitar-led, opium-tainted sounds of India and the neo-psychedelic swoons of 90s San Francisco.
In light of the album announcement, Helicon are able to share the first cut from the record, the huge first single ‘Seraph’ – a rework of a previously released track from an old split EP with Barcelona’s Celestial Bums. On the track, vocalist John-Paul Hughes explains: “’A ‘Seraph’ is a sort of celestial being or guardian angel so I wanted the new version to feel more like that – warmer, gentler and more dreamy than the original. It’s now ‘sitar’ led on the main hook with a tanpura, vintage philicorda organ, harmonium, tron flutes and harmonized guitars complimenting the sitar on the melody while Seb’s found a lovely groove on the drums.”
The band was formed by brothers John-Paul (Guitar/vocals) and Gary Hughes (Guitar) and since then they’ve burned through two drummers, two bass players, two guitarists and a keys player – they confess, as a result of them both being either “incredibly dedicated and resilient or just a couple of insufferable c*nts”. In its current form, the band is currently comprised of Mark McLure (Bass), Seb Jonsen (Drums) and Graham Gordon (Sitar and synths), each bringing a wealth of great experience to the table. As well as playing in numerous bands together in the past, Graham has also previously toured with Asteroid #4 (playing the sitar) and both he and Seb are currently touring with Peter Daltrey’s legendary Kaleidoscope band.
On the arrival of their long-overdue debut album, John-Paul adds: “As our sound and line-up evolved over the years I felt the time was now finally right to make the commitment to doing the album people had been asking us for and we owed to ourselves. The album itself is inspired by our desire to create impact, to push back against the fucking dirge of contemporary popular music and dumbing down of society. It’s the same reason we formed the band, there’s no point in complaining about shit if you aren’t prepared to offer up an alternative.”
PRAISE FOR HELICON
“Helicon are a mythical force in the UK underground… Psych with a real crunch, the sheer force of the group’s delivery is enough to punch the air out of your lungs.” Clash Magazine
“The key for Helicon seems to be disciplined chaos, a swirling protean drone-ooze draws you in for three or four minutes, before giving way to dizzying triple-time rock riffs, throbbing Krautrock propulsion, ambient serenity, or triumphant shoegaze sway-alongs” Rave Child
“Helicon’s sound world is one of dark drones and relentless noise. It’s ambitious, gorgeous, intricately structured, and, especially with sitarist Graham Gordon in the band, wonderfully original.” Stereo Embers
“Here was a band who had found their niche and who were methodically teasing every ounce of gold dust from it… On top of their ethereal, epic sprawling, reverb soaked sound, Helicon are a band imbued with those endearing celtic traits of the self-deprecating wit, and a prodigious work ethic.” Chromaticism
“Waste no faith on stereotypes – they’ll only be proven wrong. Case in point: the psychedelic haze & gaze merchants from Scotland known as Helicon” Revolt Of The Apes
HELICON S/T TRACK-LIST
1) Devil On Your Tongue
4) Drinking Of You
5) The Bold Yin
6) Teenage Murder
7) French As Fuck
8) Ring The Albanian