Based in Leeds, Helicopter Quartet (HQ) are violinist Chrissie Caulfield and guitarist Michael Capstick from late NewPath favourites Catscans. Together the duo bring us something at times unsettling yet moving but altogether interesting.
Simply put, if a spaghetti western had a 70s sci-fi soundtrack this would be it.
The alluring opening of 'Frida' is broken up by what can only be described as audio brain freeze as if HQ are stating that there aren't any rules from the offset. Brittle violin parts follow accompanied by sombre guitar chords leading into an awesome GY!BE worthy climax. It's here where the violin hints at being more than just a violin.
Sometimes when a violin is introduced into a postrock-esque setup you may predict what's coming. Not here. Instead of treating it tenderly, Chrissie grates and grinds at the instrument as if inflicting pain. It works really well throughout and manages to create some interesting accompaniment to the equally barbed guitar.
A standout for me, 'Heroes and Villains' is a real gem of a track. Fluttering bird-like effects embody the sparse landscape before becoming devoured by an "it's going to be OK" heavenly second half.
Afternoon Nightmare is beautifully sinister. It's a build up of Star Trek-like sounds before a demonic Portishead inspired outro.
The last track 'Point of No Return', yet again blurs the violin and guitar parts from recognition. It's a tense, cutting, momentum-filled climax.
The EP is available at a 'name your price' amount. Go get it.
// Stephen Johnston
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