Beats: Chris Helme – The Rookery review

Chris Helme is a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist who first rose to prominence as the front man of John Squire’s post-Stone Roses band The Seahorses.

His new solo album, The Rookery, was impressively recorded in just 9 days at a place called The Rookery, funnily enough.

The album starts with the sound of a guitar being tuned on Pickled Ginger before some lovely, folk-esque guitars and pipes come in. It’s really quite soothing. The same wonderfully, calming music continues through what one would describe as an awesome opening instrumental track.

The next track Longway Round goes straight into Chris’ recognisable voice with some more lively and upbeat guitars. It’s musically, lyrically and vocally great.

Darkest Days is a bit slower, and well, darker. It is quite a depressing song but we can’t have totally cheery music all of the time, right? We then get an almost Mediterranean guitar sound to kick off Planer which is a bit deceiving as it goes into yet another slow track.

Next up is The Spindle and the Cauldron which is a faster and heavier rock track. Certainly a favourite on the album. It’s weird though as Chris’ voice seems to take quite a dramatic turn here; he’s got a great voice but dare I say it has changed for the better?

The next couple of songs Blindeye and Pleased carry the familiar theme of one slow song then one upbeat song before we get to my ultimate favourite on the album. It’s a track called Daddies Farm and it starts off a lot heavier than the rest of the album and just seems to have a really nice flow. It’s also incredibly catchy which as you’ll know from reading other music reviews on this blog is something I always fucking love. It’s a song that flickers between soft and heavy, has great lyrics and definitely an early 70s sound to it.

It continues in a similar vein for the rest of the album with Summer Girl & Set in Stone being rather slow then ending on the wonderfully slow yet progressive and almost deep southern folk note of Good To Be In Love.

It’s also worth noting that I really fucking love the album art. It’s a bit insane and I really do hope it looks exactly like the building he recorded in…

All in all; it’s a good, well written folk album. The instruments are all played well and go nicely with Chris Helme’s wonderful voice and well thought out lyrics.

Chris HelmeThe Rookery is out on Monday 27th August 2012 and will be available anywhere you usually buy your music.



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