Welsh rockers Helen Love have been making waves on the scene since the early nineties with their intoxicating assortment of bubblegum punk pieces. Their work was even acknowledged by the late, great Joey Ramone when they were invited to New York to collaborate with the legendary artist before the turn of the century. Right now though, they’re busy celebrating the release of their highly-anticipated eighth album, Smash Hits.
The twelve track undertaking gets off to an exhilarating start with the upbeat riffs of “The First Welsh Girl in New York City”. The rhythm remains rapid across exciting stanzas and colourful choruses, with the occasional sample of “Blitzkrieg Bop” thrown in for good measure. It acts as a delightful debut ahead of the feisty vocals of “We’ve Got a Formula One Team”. This light and enlivening affair exudes oodles of enthusiasm as it runs rousingly forward, staying sunny and enticing as it unfolds.
“Thank You Poly Styrene” exhibits a thrilling tongue-in-cheek tone through wild riffs and vivacious vocals next before “You Can’t Beat a Boy who Loves The Ramones” stomps in to showcase a style extremely reminiscent of the band brandished by its title. The iconic eighties movie theme it manages to incorporate makes it feel all the more fun as it storms towards a brief but boisterous tribute to Nintendo named “Mario Kart Grand Prix…Let’s Go”.
“Spaceboy!” flies in forcefully then, bursting to life via bracing instrumentation and spirited singing. “Yes We’re in a Band that We Love” maintains a merry mood when it’s done, darting off upon riotous riffs and vigorous vocals. It’s all very vitalising until the invigorating guitars of “Long Live the Modern Lovers” take over to engross underneath another raucous refrain.
“Sheila B Devotion” is a cooler but no less compelling composition crammed with characterful crooning atop cheery instrumentation. “This Is No Hit Radio” introduces itself through enthralling riffs afterwards, then accelerates without relenting ahead of the relatively restrained opening of “The Belle of St. Mark”. It’s not long until things erupts energetically again to jog in the direction of the equally arresting “Stardust and Glitter”, which brings the proceedings to an electrifying finish.
Helen Love have delivered a wonderfully whimsical endeavour that doesn’t take itself too seriously and excels as a consequence. There’s a genuine effort to channel the sounds of the world’s most influential old-school punk acts, which results in a selection of spellbinding songs that are sure to be appreciated by genre enthusiasts everywhere. You can experience Smash Hits for yourself on iTunes now.