103662Alcopop! Records – May 20th

Ever since ‘92, Helen Love have been peddling a kind of hyperactive punk-pop that’s somewhat divisive: “the Ramones on an incredibly intense sugar high” isn’t exactly for everyone, and their predilection for cheap synthesizers, tinny guitars and shrill vocals might grate on some, but their unashamed approach to making music that’s simply fun and unpretentious is something to admire. While most bands focus their attention on singing earnestly about love and everyday grievances, Helen Love has always maintained a joyously light-hearted lyrical approach. Here, she sings about space boys on the aptly-titled, synth-driven ‘Spaceboy’, and name-drops Polystyrene on pleasingly trashy X-Ray-Spex ode ‘Thank You Polystyrene’. Helen Love’s affinity for The Ramones – the band that brought them together due to a mutual appreciation – is also still hugely prominent: Smash Hits is littered with references to them; look no further than ‘You Can’t Beat A Boy Who Loves The Ramones’, which has snippets of Dolly Parton singing “Where have all the good men gone…” – an amusing, if slightly baffling, recurring theme throughout the album. The best thing about Helen Love is that amidst the over-the-top chaos, there’s always a hint of irony – take them too seriously, and you’re simply missing the point. They’re the perfect antidote to trad-rock drudgery, and for that, we should all be grateful.

Buy: Helen Love – Smash Hits