A Constant Sea
Reviewed by Stephen Krock
Heliotropes are a handful of paradoxes. They at once sound nostalgic and retro, while still being fresh and new. Vocalists Jessica Numsuwankijkul and Amber Myers wail like banshees, yet still maintain that cool alterna-rock blasé attitude. The harmonies are solid; the guitars are heavy and riff-tastic. It’s a shame, then, that a large chunk of their debut album, A Constant Sea, is so… well, cohesive. To a fault.
The biggest drawback in any album, for me, is one where the tracks all sound the same. While that is not true 100% of the time here, there are songs like “Christine” and “Unadorned” and “Everyone Else” that make you wish they would have played around with their considerable talents a bit more.
Listening to A Constant Sea, I heard a lot of The Smiths, with some 90’s grunge here, and a splash of Lilith Fair there. It’s difficult to create a sound that not only harkens backs to the good ol’ days, but actually sounds like it was produced back then. And Heliotropes have achieved this in the best of ways. Especially so in the 50’s prom ballad, “Christine.” It seamlessly flows from the band’s signature moody rock to vintage girl-group and back again. Quite impressive. For the rest of the album, though, adrenaline is up throughout. Until the lullaby “Unadorned” finally slows down your heartbeat and rocks you to sleep.
Heliotropes do rock. And they do it well. Very well. But variety is the spice of life and I’d like to see them experiment more in their promising future.