ALBUM: Helen Love – ‘This Is My World’

After spending thirty years hidden behind a pair of shades, Welsh indie-pop legends Helen Love have released their most personal album to date. The band’s tenth LP, This Is My World is a reflective, intimate record that explores ageing, loss and front-person Helen Love’s childhood – a departure from their typically joyous odes to punkers and disco dollies.

Full disclosure: I’ve been obsessed with Helen Love for over half my life, so it feels pretty revelatory to hear such personal lyrics. ‘Seaside Town’ is a wistful take on life in a small town, while ‘Clearing Out Mum’s House’ deals with grief and the memories wrapped up in a place. 

This isn’t just Helen Love’s most open album, but it’s their most accessible too. The dizzying, “happy hardcore” beats they’re known for are turned down in favour of a punkier, more melodic and guitar-led sound. Songs like ‘Go-Kart’ are simple and stripped right down, so you can really focus on the vocal and lyrics. That said, the band prove they can still get the party started with the closing title track ‘This Is My World’ – a Pet Shop Boys-esque banger that really shines, combining an infectious ’80s-inspired groove with a poignant, introspective lyricism.

As Helen explains, “Getting older, life changes. Children grow up and leave home, loved ones pass away, friends move on. It’s easier to look back and harder to push forward…it’s not all bubblegum punk rock disco around my house anymore, but in truth, of course, it never was…

By inviting the listener into their world with this punk-driven, powerful record, Helen Love are at their most relevant and relatable here. A fitting album for the post-lockdown era, it’s reassuring to know that even Ms Love’s life isn’t all Casio keyboards and confetti canons.


This Is My World, the upcoming album from Helen Love, is set for release on 28th January via Alcopop! Records.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

Track Of The Day: Snow Coats – ‘Anyway’

The latest single from Dutch indie-pop quartet Snow Coats fizzes with promise. Taken from their forthcoming second album, ‘Anyway’ is a joyfully noisy pop gem. The band’s jangly guitars collide with toe-tapping drums and bubblegum vocals to create something incredibly catchy.

The result is polished and radio friendly. But, while ‘Anyway’ has plenty of style, there’s substance too. Front-person Anouk van der Kamp’s rich, sweet voice drips like honey as they sing about needing more from a relationship. They explain, “‘Anyway’ is a song about sometimes needing a less superficial and more sincere connection with someone, so you can be sad together.” It’s bittersweet, but bouncy too.

With their second album due out on the brilliant Alcopop! Records in early 2022, it feels like Snow Coats could be getting ready to make a more meaningful connection with the UK, too. Expect to hear more delightfully twinkling offerings from them soon!

‘Anyway’ is now available on Alcopop! Records.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

WATCH: Why Bonnie – ‘Galveston’

As the days get shorter and colder, the latest single from Texas quintet Why Bonnie is a much-needed blast of sunshine. ‘Galveston’ is uplifting, grown-up guitar pop that’s busting with love and longing.

Blair Howerton’s rich, wistful vocals recall childhood visits to island city of Galveston, Texas. Backed by melancholic guitar and whirring keyboards, the song epitomises faded seaside glamour. However, while Howerton’s voice is soft and soothing, the driving energy of the drums and bass create a buoyant piece of irresistible pop.

‘Galveston’ is described by Howerton as “…a snapshot of an old childhood haunt; the capital of ghosts and good memories.” But it’s not just the lyrics and subject matter that take the listener on a nostalgia trip. The band’s sound is reminiscent of the very best fuzzy, female-fronted ’90s indie-pop. Belly and Throwing Muses fans, this is right up your street.

Directed by Grace Pendleton and capturing the track’s twinkling emotion perfectly, watch the beautiful new video for ‘Galveston’ here:


‘Galveston’ is out now on Fat Possum records.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

Photo Credit: Grace Pendleton

ALBUM: YAY MARIA – ‘OYEZ’

YAY MARIA is the supremely talented Maria Machin – a trans and queer musician from Derby, who you probably know as the front-woman of Grawl!x. With this solo electronic pop project, Machin has created an outlet to explore her gender transition. And after listening, you’ll be grateful that she chose to invite us on the journey.

Her long-awaited debut solo album is nothing short of magical. Ambitious and accomplished, OYEZ is a DIY pop record that transcends its humble origins. Its beats, bleeps and harmonies will fill your heart and send pure joy racing around your body. It feels like a celebration of otherness; breaking boundaries with lush orchestration, samples and driving beats without losing sight of its pop sensibility.

The album feels truly immersive. The giddy dancefloor stomper ‘TRU CRUSH’ is a standout, as are ‘PLASTIK PINK’ and ‘SHOPPING CENTRE’ – both sassy, grown-up slices of electro-pop that would be killer singles. Meanwhile, Belper’s Town Crier pops up halfway through the record too, just to let us know that YAY MARIA hopes we’re enjoying ourselves in a cute little nod to Machin’s Midlands’ roots!

Yet, despite these highlights, it’s the anthemic (and brilliantly named) ‘EPIPHANY (IN A CHARITY SHOP)’ that’ll stay with me. In it, Machin reflects on YAY MARIA’s purpose. “This isn’t about me,” she says. “It’s about so much more than me.” And she’s right. At a time where the trans community faces so much hostility, I really hope this album finds its way to the ears, hearts and minds who need it.

A joyful, powerful and important album, OYEZ offers love, solidarity and the inspiring message that being queer is beautiful. Yay to that, Maria!

OYEZ is out now. Buy the digital album on bandcamp now.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic