Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Often, the joy of discovery is blunted by how much of what you end up discovering is recycled, carbon-copy genre worship with no new ideas and middling intensity. You search and search and search, but for all your effort come up with a few competent and enjoyable, but also pointless and forgettable, albums from bands who won't be part of your listening rotation a few weeks past their initial spins. However, from time to time, the endless search for something new, something powerful and substantial comes along that reaffirms your love for musical discovery. No Help For The Mighty Ones certainly had that effect on me. By taking the basic Doom/Sludge formula and turning it upside down while classing it up, Subrosa have created something incredibly somber, rich and emotional without ever coming off as corny or over-wrought.
Like the wails of a long lost lover roaring from the mist, No Help For The Mighty Ones immediately attacks the gut and twists it into all sorts of uncomfortable knots. The off-key, distant crooning of Rebecca Vernon and Sarah Pendleton hypnotizes you, while the shriek of electric violins jar you back into a cold, harsh reality. The guitars act in tandem with the rhythm section to create the fuzzy, ballsy and oddly warm backdrop for the violins to do their masterful work, rarely moving to the forefront. This might be a turn off for some, but Subrosa pull if off so masterfully it is hard to find any fault with it; the tracks meander on achingly from walls of symphonic noise to accessible Fuzz Rock to haunting, heart-string-tugging classical glory all in the same song. Try not to feel the pain on "Whipporwhill": emotional assaults are a very real part of No Help For The Mighty Ones.
This is an incredibly ballsy album, and considering that three-fifths of the band are quite literally without testicles, it becomes all the more impressive. It takes serious guts to have an a Capella English Folk song on your Doom/Sludge album, yet "House Carpenter" feels right at home on this album, a tale of lovelorn loss and demonic intervention that so beautifully exemplifies what makes this album such a triumph. All throughout the album, the listener comes face to face with truly fearless songwriting and powerful tones, both musical and emotional. No Help For The Mighty Ones is a once in a decade type album, one that should and hopefully will have a profound effect on the genre as a whole. These Utah sad saps have really touched on something here, something glorious, wonderful and real. Not to be missed.