D. CHARLES SPEER & THE HELIX - leaving the commonwealth LP, Thrill Jockey




“Leaving the Commonwealth is the third full length by D. Charles Speer & the Helix and features their most accomplished playing and songwriting yet, setting a high watermark for narrative honky tonk rock at this late date. Inspired by swaggering, outrageous and engaging sonic tales like Cowboy Jack Clement’s ‘Miller’s Cave,’ this album features byzantine songs which flow surprisingly quickly and with natural grace. The album opener ‘Razorbacked’ emits nourish cinematic imagery and twists which are matched with music sparked from a wasted mid 70s cassette from Peaches or Turtles. Numerous musical luminaries, including Freddie King and Clifton Chenier, are invoked and celebrated in song. Other tracks like ‘Cumberland’ and ‘Battle of the Wilderness’ are historically detailed and geographically specific chronicles. Dense tones flow from all corners, with guitar sounds reminiscent of Fripp or Manzanera on one end and the pedal steel tones of Emmons and Mooney on another. Beautifully recorded by Jason LaFarge of Seizures Palace in the urban environs of Brooklyn, this album is southern by lyrical setting, country by instrumental arrangement, rocking through its rhythmic heft and most certainly contemporary in attitude. Housed in a die-cut jacket with full-color inner sleeve.”