Helén is the creation of multi-instrumentalist Kimmo Helén (Hexvessel) and the debut album from the project is an intriguing listen. Helén performs the vast majority of the album himself (aside from the cello and sax lines, along with a violin solo), which is impressive in itself, and moreso when you take into account the high standard displayed on the album from start to finish.
There’s quite a few different styles at play within the eight tracks, with styles such as folk, shoegaze, acoustic, jazz, ambient, rock and even a sprinkling of melancholic doom coming together to create an album that can’t quite be pigeonholed due to the variety of songs featuring on it. Flow-wise, it’s a little jerky due to the genre changes from song to song, but on the flip-side to this, the versatility is good because it shows that Helén is unafraid to mix things up – it would just be better if there was a smoother transition between songs at times.
Whilst there’s something that will cater for many peoples tastes on this album, my personal favourite is the second track Jumalan hullu, which is a jazzier number with a nice wall of sax accompanying for the most part, and also features a seriously striking string solo that definitely makes you want to stand up and pay closer attention. The vocals on this one are especially emotively colourful as well, and help to add an extra sparkle to an already-great song.
As a whole, this is a very nice album and a rather rewarding listen that’s certainly worth your time to check out.