Helpful People Brokenblossom Threats

Tall Texan
20th October 2023

Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Glenn “Midas Touch” Donaldson teams up with Oilies’ Carly Putnam for this absolute fuzz-fest indie pop melter. The guitars threaten to crack apart frequently, walls and walls of distortion forming a gauze of frequencies over the songs. Donaldson’s guitar playing and wall-of-sound aesthetic gets a real airing here, recognisable from his work in Vacant Gardens or, reaching further back into his discography, Skygreen Leopards. The mix is sympathetic to Putnam’s to-die-for vocal performances though, which smack of the kind of throw-away brilliance of Juliana Hatfield, so rather than being obscured by the noise the songs shine through the haze brilliantly.

The chord progressions feel like the intuitive playing of J. Mascis, giving perfect succour to the songs: opener You Don’t Have To Know Where To Go sets the scene, rudimentary and thumping before the eponymous track turns the heartbreak dial up to 10, those oozy minor chords hitting the perfect spot. Sometimes the delivery feels akin to Karina McGill in Cindy, Putnam’s little epithets curling around the chords smartly and leaving the song when they need to. Protection Energy cascades guitar all over the joint, layer upon layer of strings piled on top of each other with the vocal sailing over it like every indie pop band you’ve ever heard but somehow sounding like the very first ever indie pop band.

The sound is probably rougher, the song structures more primitive than Reds Pinks, but it really works. Donaldson, as if you were in any doubt, is a stylist and songwriter to go down in the history books and 50/50 partner Carly Putnam’s presence makes the whole thing just vibrate with a sweet melancholy.