Helen Love: This Is My World
Vinyl | CD | Streaming
Out 28th January
Pre Order Here
Staunch Welsh indie artist Helen Love follows up 2020’s Power On with This Is My World on 28th January via Alcopop! Records
For those of you not familiar, since 1992 Helen and her band have been producing Ramones-influenced, happy hardcore/bubblegum pop indie anthems on a Botempi organ (possibly), packed with more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at.
Releasing only singles and EPs until 2000, Love has sporadically released albums and compilations since. Second single, Joey Ramoney, a tribute to the band’s favourite singer was brought to Joey’s attention by the UK branch of the Ramones fan club. Love and the band were then invited by Joey to New York to play a gig. This lead to collaborations with Ramone introducing the band’s first Evening Session on Radio 1 and duetting with Helen on the album version of the track Punk Boy. Helen returned the favour by providing backing vocals on the album Don’t Worry About Me and singing on the track Mr. Punchy. More recent singles include: an unofficial record for the Welsh Football Team, who successfully reached the semis of Euro 2016; A Boy From Wales Called Gareth Bale; and Double Denim, a salute to the kids in the suburbs wearing double denim and raced Raleigh Choppers in the sweltering summer of 1976.
Whereas previous releases have been energetic, exhilarating and packed with samples, this album is more straightforward, perhaps more grown up. It’s no less addictive though and doesn’t disappoint on repeat listens. As with the previous album Power On, This Is My World was also recorded during a lockdown, specifically in the second. It finds Love in a more reflective mood. That said, it doesn’t stop there being a euphoric ‘Pet Shop Boys’ feel to the title track which would certainly suit an overblown CGI video (with Neil Tennant making a cameo obviously); nor does it stop the odd reference to punk influences slipping in, such as the mention of ‘giant big discotheque album’ on Let The Sunshine In.
The album kicks starts off, heralded by horns, with My Seaside Town. It’s an uptempo bittersweet love letter to Swansea, allbeit reflecting in it’s failings and longing to be elsewhere. From here we’re treated to Love’s memories of childhood friends and growing up on tracks Billy Liar and A Quite Good Time respectively. The aforementioned Let The Sunshine is a mid album blast of positivity that will have you nodding your head and tapping your toes; it also has a Sunday School feel to it, which I’m sure Joe Strummer would approve of. After all, he who f**ks Nuns… The second half of the album continues on similar themes, Our House looking at memories of growing up in the family home, and the powerful Clearing Out Mum’s House will resonate with those of us who have been through that process after losing parents and dealing with the memories and ghosts. As well as looking back, Helen finds the time to pass on advice to her daughter with First Day Of June (basically get out of town and live your life).
While this isn’t an atypical Helen Love album it’s a welcome one which is influenced by the times we’re living in, in a similar way to Billy Bragg’s A Million Things That Never Happened. The album closes with the rousing title track, which feels and acts like an encore. The song sees Helen taking stock and putting a marker down for where she is in her life now. Where she’ll go next is anyone’s guess. What I’m sure of, though, is this will be in my Top 10 list in 11 months time as we choose our Best Albums of 2022.