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Seemingly named after the appropriately catastrophic volcanic disaster, St Helens are a new band from Melbourne fronted by Jarrod Quarrell (The New Season), and populated by indie veterans from the likes of Kes Band, Bird Blobs and Love of Diagrams. This debut album is a refreshingly garage-y affair, in the best sense – its spare and darkly funny songs are delivered by the band with a sincere lack of self-doubt, filthy guitars and wash-room drums complimenting Quarrell’s distinctly NYC punk drawl. The title track Heavy Profession pounds along with the razor-sharp attack of early Television by way of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the eerily effective Pharaohs Tomb is similarly evocative of the by-gone era of the new wave. Quarrell’s production is similarly un-fussy – it’s quite a thin record, but this serves as a tone colour that provides a sense of other-ness to the proceedings, and seems far more appropriate than if this were produced like a mega-budget rock affair. This is garage music of the purest kind – straight from the heart and free of pretense, but delivered with enough snarl and grimy irreverence that one can’t help but be intoxicated.

***1/2