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Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Musik

Helen Love

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Album Review

Helen Love's first full-length album, Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Muzik, is a bit of a departure for the band. The rinky-d**k cheap synths and toy keyboard sound is replaced with a fuller sound (although the drums are mostly provided by machines still) courtesy of producer Steve Gregory (of Pooh Sticks fame). The almost stalker-ish fascination with the Ramones (both lyrically and in the three chords and a cloud of melody musical approach) still remains in trace amounts, but the focus has shifted to Atari Teenage Riot and hardcore techno. Songs like "Jump Up and Down" and the ABBA-ish "Atomic Beat Boy" make the case that being a punk girl or boy in 1999 meant being a digital punk. Fair enough, but not a case many people were making outside of Helen Love. Despite these changes, the record still is replete with the things that made Helen Love such a wonderful band: the lyrics are smart and funny, the melodies are honey sweet and twice as sticky, Helen's voice is beautifully teenaged, and their love of the music they play and sing is infectious. Tunes like "Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Musik," "Does Your Heart Go Booooooom," "BigBigKiss," "Better Set Your Phasers to Stun," and "MC5" are pure bubblegum punk that are just as good as the band's early singles. The new dance music trappings never overshadow the melodies and even are successful in most cases because they are so dorky and tongue-in-cheek. The only song that doesn't work is the new version of Helen Love's classic "Punk Boy" featuring Love trading lines with her hero, Joey Ramone. Somehow his presence ruins the pretense of Love being the world's biggest Ramones fan who sits around pining for Joey. Plus it is the one song that shouldn't have a full band treatment, as it sounds overly slick and pro compared to the original. Despite this stumble (and thanks to the clutch of fab songs and Gregory's unerring grasp of how to make great-sounding pop records), Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Muzik is a fun and pretty darn cool record. [The 2001 reissue of the record on Damaged Goods retitles it Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Muzik and adds four songs recorded on the radio in New York in 1999. Three of the songs are from the album, and one ("Automatic Disco Club") is not. The songs have a more traditionally Helen Love sound as they strip away much of the production and are more lo-fi and charming. This is the version of the album to look for.]

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Probably the biggest Ramones fans in Wales, if not the entire United Kingdom, Helen Love mixed da bruddahs with a little B-52's and a whole lot of Pooh Sticks-style indie irony to create a sunny and unapologetically disposable sound. Formed in Cardiff, Wales, in 1992, Helen Love (like Blondie, they're a group) consists of the pseudonymous Helen Love on bratty shout-along vocals, Sheena — who is, of course, a punk rocker — on buzzsaw guitars, and Roxy and Mark on dueling Casio keyboards,...
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Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Musik, Helen Love
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