Four years on since ‘Smash Hits’, any fans will be relieved to know that little has changed in the dayglo world of Helen Love. No introspective, bleak dramas or unwelcome ballads. If anything, this album is more in your face, relentlessly upbeat and frenetic. The usual lyrical suspects are here; Ramones, glitter pop, radios and plastic.


In the current climate, this is quite a relief. No mention of the ‘real’ world, you can lose yourself in Helen’s bold, primary colour land. ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ (not that one) is jubilant; “I’m in love and it feels so good”. I’m glad someone’s happy! It’s a rarity nowadays. Single ‘Debbie Takes Control Of The Radio’ comes on like a bubblegum Sputnik, complete with ‘Pump It Up’ sample. ‘Jackie’ has a riff to make Johnny Ramone smile, ‘Dead In My Head’ has a suitably Buzzcocks intro, while ‘Sandra Dee’ waxes lyrical about Ms Newton John.


‘Power Of The Music’ is like a kids’ birthday party full of those lovely old E numbers, on a trampoline. And it references ‘Shout It Out Loud’. ‘Star’ is equally nuts; “we love the way you dance in your plastic pants like a New York Doll”. ‘You Wear Your Hair Long’; “like Joey Ramone”. Obviously. What else were you expecting? ‘On My Own’ condenses a Duncan Reid album into one song.


Helen Love clearly makes music because she loves it. It won’t win over doubters, or Radiohead fans, but that’s not the point. If you want an escape from grim reality, this is what the doctor ordered.


Author: Martin Chamarette