The Single Girl: The Helmholtz Resonators, “Sunshine/Shadow”

GEMMA MAXWELL FOR TVD | I’m a sucker for a whimsical backstory, so when The Helmholtz Resonators’ press release landed in my inbox, I was intrigued. Describing themselves as “a renegade group of psychedelic time travelling audio scientists who have been playing and writing music together since the turn of the century” (which isn’t as long ago as I initially thought), who were these musical time travellers, would their music reflect their, obviously, playful nature, and how did they get my email?

Their double A side single “Sunshine/Shadow” loaded up to my computer, I poured myself a drink and strapped myself in, expecting some sort of Cardiacs/Captain Beefheart aural assault.

Thankfully, The Helmholtz Resonators were a lot more accessible than I anticipated, and after a couple of listens I found myself humming along to all the bells and dings of their “reclaimed” synthesiser (a Burg organ, allegedly found in a skip) and singing along with reckless abandon to their sparse, simplistic yet evidently obscenely catchy lyrics. There’s more than a hearty dash of Beta Band thrown in to the mix, and while they haven’t blown me away with their single, there is something about it that lingers long after you’ve taken it off the stereo.

“Sunshine” is an upbeat, balearic style ditty that I doubt is going to take the world by storm, yet the band have managed to pull off a Ronseal-style trick, where the song sounds pretty much exactly how you’d expect sunshine to sound—it’s even warming. I know that makes little sense, so you’re just going to have to listen to it to get what I mean.

“Shadow,” on the other hand, represents the band’s darker side. And of course it does! It’s packaged with a single called “Sunshine,” for God’s sake. This track tells a bit more of a story, using music and lyrics to create a semi-paranoid world where people living in shadows seem to lurk behind every corner.

Definitely some good ideas here in these two tracks, and ones to keep an eye out for in the future.

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