D. Charles Speer and the Helix emerge as an up-and-rising country-hearted ensemble. Distillation counts as the group's second studio release. Recorded at Black Dirt Studios in Westtown, New York, during 2009, these ten songs showcase the diversity of these musicians.
"Mason Dixon Crime" commences Distillation with Speer's baritone voice and the silvertone twangs that indicate this really a country-hearted band. The dreamy "Open Season" showcases Marc Orleans' amazing pedal steel skills, and a gritty rock & roll edge the band patrols from time to time.
"Hardwood Floors", a playful juke joint number, lifts the spirit and surely infects any live audience with shuffling feet. "Time Changes Things" sounds as if it could be sung by anyone from Gram Parsons to George Jones. "Life Insurance", co-written with Hans Chew, exists as one of this album's centerpiece songs, and drifts closer to the musical aesthetic of The Black Crowes.
Speer and Orleans wrote the light-hearted instrumental "Helical" that fits in well with this collection's track sequence. "Gravedigger" continues into the harder-edged sound, and the group extends the jam out a bit, but these are heady lyrical songs. "The Fallika Stair"--another instrumental--conjures a stranger musical mix to this collection where the band adheres to a more free-flowing style of song-structure.
On "Elderflower", a quiet acoustic tune, Speer weaves a vivid story regarding a rural life of soul and geography into these five minutes. The final song on Distillation, "Shorty A Bastard Cat", exists as just a pure rock & roll gem that travels into space. D. Charles Speer & the Helix possess the ability to roll around in the Georgia clay as well as travel into the stratosphere. Smell the high octane of Distillation...
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