Black Helicopter

Invisible Jet (Ecstatic Peace)

Black Helicopter
It's none too surprising that Boston's Black Helicopter, which evokes several different types of prime '90s guitar squall, would meet Thurston Moore's qualifications for release on his Ecstatic Peace label. Thankfully, the band is far from being a Sonic Youth clone; instead, these Green Magnet School alumni evoke more of the muscular, heavy-lidded swirl of a group like Swervedriver and -- in one instance, at least (opening cut "Buick Electra") -- the clanging sex-thump of Girls Against Boys.

To be sure, there are elements of Green Magnet School's weirdly personal experimentalism, courtesy of occasionally off-kilter arrangements and some mildly psychedelic touches. But in the end, Black Helicopter is a much more sturdy and rocking beast, perfectly capable of dishing up ooh-ahh harmonies ("Head of Steam") and charging anthems ("Casio"). Sounding world-weary and a little pissed, vocalist Tim Shea makes his weary rasp a perfect counterpoint to the surging rhythm section and oceanic guitars, proving that it's possible to evoke the strengths of '90s guitar rock without blatantly mimicking it.

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