Ends With And

Mary Timony has made an admirable career for herself, both solo and fronting bands Autoclave, Helium, Wild Flag and, more recently, the excellent power-pop group Ex Hex. Close to 20 years since it was a band, Helium’s former record label, Matador, has reissued the majority of the group’s recorded output. Ends With And is the newest addition to the catalog and compiles singles, outtakes, demos and a couple of live recordings. What it also does is illustrate the band’s growth from a curiosity with potential to one of the more striking and inventive bands of the early to mid-1990s. And frankly, there is nothing here that sounds dated or out of place in 2017. If anything, current bands could stand to tear a page from the Helium playbook and spend more time on song craft, use the studio as an instrument unto itself, and constantly challenge listeners. “Lucy” is an essential track capitalizing on what the band does best with Timony’s trademark breathy vocals and brittle guitar tone over the steady rhythm section, allowing her guitar noise to explore at will.