Somehow both meditative and jarring, the Helicopters' hard-charging sound is as unsettling as life along a fault line: Everything could be ripped open and come crashing down at any moment. Singer Joe Dennis swaps a stoned, Morrisonesque howl for a blood-curdling bawl within a single verse. Passive-aggressive guitarist Jamie Stillman goes from the Promise Ring to Prong in the blink of an eye. The only steady hand seems to belong to bassist Ryan Brannon, whose acrobatic playing is consistently overdriven.
No track better encapsulates all this breadth than "The Conquering," a mesmeric 10-minute drone on which Dennis lays narcotic vocals over oceans of foamy guitars that later evaporate in a haze of lysergic synth. It all crashes abruptly into the cold sweat of the nervous, suffocating "+8 Sack of Fear." Another breathless crescendo follows in "The Tundra" -- which, with its paranoiac vocals and dizzying guitar, is truly the sound of schizophrenia. Then, finally, they stop. As does your heart.