Hélène Barbier Regulus LP
Second solo LP from HÉLÈNE BARBIER, formerly of Québecquoise trio MOSS LIME and joined here by a cast of collaborators from the Celluloid Lunch family. MOSS LIME’s version of spartan, spectral art-punk wandered through labyrinths similar to the ones constructed by YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS and the RAINCOATS forty years prior, and Regulus largely follows suit—sing-song vocals (in both English and French) with a touch of languid chilliness, stripped-down and unhurried beats, angular single-note guitar twang, pop songs run through post-punk machinery. BARBIER’s lyrical delivery serves the skittish rhythms of tracks like “Get a Grip” and “Regulus” just as much as the bass and drums, with words and phrases drawn out and repeated until the distinctions between language and sound start to break down, while muted swells of keyboard add to the otherworldly fever dream vibe of “Jersey Swap” and “Lightly,” and her gauzy take on “You Little Nothing” by the GORIES is somehow even more bare-bones than the original, with only some brief mangled guitar racket keeping it from completely drifting into the ether. Lovely.