Heliotropes is an alternative rock band from Brooklyn. The project was born in 2009 when Jessica Numsuwankijkul (vocals/guitar/bass) and Amber Myers had mutual admiration for Brian Eno and Spacemen 3. They started off as an Eno cover band, but they were also playing some sludgy metal and other stuff. Over the seven years, their sound has changed some and their lineup has changed a lot. Their current lineup consists of Numsuwankijkul, Ricci Swift (guitar/vocals), Richard Thomas (bass/vocals), and Greg Giuffré (drums).
They released an album called A Constant Sea in June of 2013, and it was met with critical praise. I didn’t know about it then, and I didn’t know about the band at all until I started to get things in the mail bag about the forthcoming album. Over There That Way will be released via The End Records.
Their sound doesn’t really fit perfectly under any specific genre umbrella, but it fits relatively well under several. There’s certainly elements of atmospheric and ambient rock, doom-gaze, psychedelic rock, and good old-fashioned 1990s style “alternative rock”. Some reviews have likened them to Mazzy Star. Some have compared them to 1960s girl groups. Others have focused on the heavier and sludgier side. The three new songs that I’ve heard remind me of different things. On “Easy”, another of the new songs, I’m reminded quite a bit of Madder Rose. On tonight’s song, I’m reminded of something that Rose Melberg might have done in the late 1990s.
Not only does the song structure and Numsuwankijkul’s vocals remind me of Melberg, but in that vein, it seems perfectly fitting that the song is just 1:40 in length. This is that song:
“Normandy” by Heliotropes
I’m especially fond of the short bit with the vocal harmonies in the chorus. And although it’s only 100 seconds, I didn’t even notice how short it was. I just wanted to hear it again and again.
You can pre-order the album on LP or CD format here.