Thee Heavenly Music Association (Other)

Thee Heavenly Music Association

Thee Heavenly Music Association is an apt moniker, but one that the duo of Helen Storer and David Hillis could have a hard time living up to. If murky guitar riffs and some feedback and fuzz are your niche, then step right up! Bands such as the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine are easily discerned here, while current bands such as Singapore Sling and Bikini Atoll are definitely quaint comparisons.

"Synesthesia" starts the album off with a beefy guitar riff and ethereal, airy vocals to create a perfect blend of beauty and brawn. This could be the soundtrack to Lost in Translation 2 if such a venture came to fruition.

Deeper and stronger is "The Absolute Elsewhere," which has Storer's vocals drawing out the best of Hillis' guitar playing, similar to the Cure circa Bloodflowers. The only problem with this track is that it ends much too quickly and abruptly, making it seem a bit unfulfilled or not fully blossomed.

Highlights, and there are several, have to begin with the epic, dreamy, and extremely lush "Alain," which soars and soars. One hopes it goes on and on, but it ends -- unfortunately -- after just four precious, joyful minutes. It's this grandiose approach that keeps it so pleasing and sweet. Then there is the slow-building and downplayed "Angelic Disorder," which offers a wall of sound behind Storer's somewhat dreary yet hopeful pipes. "Suffer My Angel" tends to suffer by winding around an arrangement that doesn't go anywhere. However, this is atoned for with the stunning "Trip Seat," as the band makes a beautiful, thick, intense, and emotional wall of sound. The album takes a bit of a breather during "Jiji Crycry," but this effort is still a healthy dose of hazy, psychedelic-tinged dream rock. They take the album up an intense notch or two with the buzzsaw urgency of "Say Something," which never falters or wavers, making it a consistently strong listen. The coda is a coveted cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," slowing the tune down into a very sparse, precious nugget in the vein of Moby's reworking of New Order's "Temptation." The guitar hues resemble the Edge here as well.

--- Jason MacNeil, Allmusic.com