A name synhomonymic with “this blows” is forbidding enough without liner notes like “shows what happens when you have too much time on your hands,” “average talent,” and “WARNING: Not for the politically correct!” Worse yet, “contains Copy Control technology” that may cause “playback problems” on “car CD players,” when cars are where Helix (who belonged on the pre-recorded cassette format) most sounded like an actual professional band. The Kitchener, Ontario (motto: “173 Miles From Napanee”), Fela & Kanada 70 have gone through 25 members. Onetime bassist Mike Uzelac found God and was last seen wandering the streets in 1983 “in Detroit,” but Helix got their Rumours in 1984 with Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge, the last time anybody used a fucking apostrophe properly. “Rock You” was covered by Sum 41 on the Fubar soundtrack, which is like if Skye Sweetnam did “Love Is a Battlefield” in 13 Going on 30. They chased Amy with “Heavy Metal Love” (a paean to Joan Jett with Judas Priest music) and chased Amis with Bob Halligan Jr. Previously unavailable tracks include a Tom Jones cover, the turning Japanoize “I Wanna Be Stoned,” and “S.E.X. Rated,” which takes reactionary objectification to an extreme that’s probably been banned in their native country by some Supreme Court ruling. As accurate a reflection of life outside the Defense Perimeter as you’ll find.
Willamena, who are from some place down in the lower 48, turn the Northern superiority complex against itself with devastating results in “Rock-n-Roll.” Dead-on Tragically Sloan cryogenic-retardation vocals interrupt mantric repetitions of “keep it simple” and “it’s just gon’ be a damn good time” with Coupland references like “I really Doug that loud guitar” over a not very loud guitar. Also, this is the worst possible time to channel the Michael Stanley Band, gas prices being what they are. Then again, it’s worse outside the Perimeter, where (as I’ll be first on record to predict) we’re looking at $8 a gallon by Christmas.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 20, 2005