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Helium is essentially the project of Mary Timony, formerly of the girl punk band Autoclave. Helium formed in 1992 with Brian Dunton on bass and Shawn King Devlin and started releasing 7"s like 1993's The American Jean. 1994 saw the band release the Pirate Prude EP, an interesting but somewhat inaccessible exercise in mixing radical feminism with punk rock. The Dirt of Luck, released in 1995, was an improvement and embellishment of the sound laid forth in Pirate Prude: Heavy, sluggish guitars, spooky keyboards, and Timony's breathy alto laid over an understated rhythm section. That year, Polvo's Ash Bowie also joined the lineup, replacing Dunton on bass. In 1997, the group returned with the No Guitars EP. Helium is a challenging listen but also a rewarding one. ~ Heather Phares