Helena Deland
Someone New


4.0
excellent

Review

by neekafat CONTRIBUTOR (69 Reviews)
October 28th, 2020 | 87 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In your shoes

Music is about feeling things. Yes, yes, this is obvious, I know. But it’s easy to forget, especially when one consumes such a copious amount of it that everything sort of melds together. Sometimes it takes an album so emotionally straightforward that you have to stop and feel it. Someone New is one of those albums. Stripped down to its basest elements, perhaps there’s nothing marvelous about Helena Deland’s debut full-length. Its basic throughline—exploring the danger in our relationships—is only compelling because of her ability to combine her skills to make you feel exactly how she wants you to. Her frank lyrics are not exceptional, her music is playful but hardly groundbreaking, and her delivery shares clear lineage with the whispered worryings of fellow indie-folk-pop-singer-songwriter contemporaries Common Holly and Haley Heynderickx. Each of these has its charms, but none bear the full weight of the record. On “Dog,” Deland doesn’t aim for poetry by relentlessly crooning “I hate to be your dog” in the final stretch, but in the way her exhausted delivery weaves between the lurking bass and clattering percussion. There’s rarely a deeper meaning to uncover, just the effortless way she plants the listener in her shoes by bringing each element of her songs to work in tandem. She’s an incredible director.

As with others in her genre, Deland uses her own bag of tricks to distance herself from the bunch. Dream-pop filters add vibrance to her shining choruses, and a bassy electronic undercurrent runs through the more menacing sections. Genre and instrumentation bend to whatever mood Deland has set her sights on—such contrasts only add to each song’s unique signature, and spark exciting clashes with its neighbors. As disarming pop cut “Comfort, Edge” brushes against the threatening instrumental “The Walk Home,” the album begs for words like “eclectic” and “varied” to be overused. Despite all the whirrs and whizzes, each shift in sound feels warranted and unfussy, grounded in emotion while emphasizing the song’s identity with enthusiasm.

While this emphasis on individual songs is engaging from track-to-track, it’s clear that the album lacks a clear structure. Its peaks and valleys stretch out; clattering jams run uncomfortably close together, as do the slow tracks on a snooze of a final run. Each of them is compelling on its own, but better attention to sequencing could have made that contrast pop all the more. While each song chomps on its own slice of troubled-relationships pie, a clear arc for her journey just isn’t present.

But that isn’t the point. An album as effortlessly effusive as this would feel burdened with an overcomplicated narrative or mounds of subtext. The exact reason why Someone New is so captivating is because of how direct it is. Like a director’s reel, Deland shines her sound through different genres and moods, inviting the audience to relate and relive what they see fit from her insular world. Despite its flaws, this album is a gripping calling card for Helena Deland and her ability to show what it feels like to stand in her shoes.



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user ratings (27)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2020


20594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty sure I've overcooked this one until its just become words, but then again its a tricky feeling to describe. Basically it's great and you should try it.

Thanks to Johnny for helping me make (some) sense of it (:



"Dog": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNRD6u0OlHI

Minushuman24
October 29th 2020


4446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's v good

Digging: The Menzingers - Hello Exile

budgie
October 29th 2020


22617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yaay

Trifolium
October 29th 2020


20079 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice a review yessssssss!

A neek one no lessssssss!

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2020


30081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this album sucks and Comfort, Edge is one of the worst songs of 2020 but this review is nice nice nice and it makes me hap

Digging: Rubio - Mango Negro

Trifolium
October 29th 2020


20079 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've only heard this once, and I think I'm somewhere between Team 2.5 (😮) and Team 4.5 (😍). This is safely in 3.5 territory for me at the moment. One more spin is needed to verify this.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2020


20594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

C:

A 3.5 is reasonable, a 2.5 is just cranky!!

Minushuman24
October 29th 2020


4446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Every song on here just glides so smoothly. It is perfect for just laying down and listening. Truth Nugget is my least favorite track here and I still quite like it all things considered.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2020


1910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i would love to love this but i've listened all the way through thrice now and all i remember is how much that truth nugget lyric bothered me :[

Digging: Palm Reader - Sleepless

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2020


20594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Truth Nugget is one of my faves wow ):

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2020


20220 Comments


she did a good job on "free the frail," might give it a peep

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2020


20594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

peep it!

proscett
October 29th 2020


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pale is so so so good

budgie
October 29th 2020


22617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol johnny

neeka hyou rule so hard for getting helena some attention on this site

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 29th 2020


20594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Proscett yes yes Pale is top 3 easy

@budgie you rule for rec'ing it!! I feel like I've reviewed so many of your recs lmao you get my taste real well

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 29th 2020


62678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Comort, Edge is substantially better than anything johnny has ever brought to light on this site tbh



(and it's like a 3)

Digging: Godfather Don - Beats, Bangers and Biscuits...

normaloctagon
October 30th 2020


1947 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wow this is so good. the review and the music

Digging: Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

normaloctagon
October 30th 2020


1947 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ohp yep montreal, that explains it

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2020


30081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

If any artist had the chutzpah to name a song Comort, Edge, chances are it'd be better than anything brought to light on this site full stop

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 30th 2020


62678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lol comort



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