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Released: 2006, Dirty Dog Records
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
The Hardest Working Band in Rock n’ Roll is back with a follow-up E.P. to 2004’s ROCKIN’ IN MY OUTER SPACE full-length album. GET UP! has all the makings of a classic Helix album (there is even a re-recorded version of ‘Heavy Metal Love’ as a bonus track, just to show how well the new music complements their classic stuff).
It’s hard to believe that Brian Vollmer has been in the music business for over thirty years. GET UP! certainly does not sound like an 'tired' album from a band that is well into the fourth decade of its career. Along with his writing partners (Gord Prior and Steve Georgakopoulos), Vollmer has written some of Helix’s best songs on this new outing.
From the instant that GET UP! starts, you cannot help but think you are back in ’83. The title song has that classic metal sound that made Helix famous and helped define the hard rock/metal sound of the 80s. The track starts off with some machinegun-like guitar by Steve, followed by a gradual vocal build by Brian in the first verse that leads to a full on Helix bombast of sound. The chorus sounds so thick with its multi-layered vocals - it just hits you in the face. And a brilliant melodic guitar solo by Steve midway through the song is reminiscent of the ones that were a staple in all hard rock and metal songs of yesteryear. The addition of crowd noise gives the feeling that this song was recorded live – it’s spontaneous, fun and full of energy – hallmarks of a classic Helix show, and a theme throughout this entire E.P..
The title track is followed up by the equally heavy rocker "Boomerang Lover", a song which features some really heavy and distorted guitar. Continuing the theme of spontaneity, Vollmer does a classic ad-lib at the beginning of the song in true Helix style. The slightly futuristic "Cyberspace Girl" is filled with some amazing vocals by Brian. Although a bit mellower than the previous couple of songs, it is far from being labeled a ‘ballad’ - it is a very melodic song with some great lyrics.
Sexual references are aplenty in the party tune: "Baby Likes to Ride". This song has a top-down (no pun intended), flat-out, drivin’ sound, that makes you want to crank up the volume as you are cruisin’ down the highway. Starting off with all instruments simultaneously playing, this song is solid and full-sounding. Steve just lets loose here and lays down some mind-blowing guitar solos. Stan Fountain’s bass playing is ‘in-your-face’, and very melodic. Along with Rob MacEachern’s solid drumming, it helps define the driving rhythm of this song (and for that matter, the entire album).
"The Past Is Back to Kick Your Ass" is Helix’s tongue-in-cheek way of saying that REAL rock and roll can never die - it’s alive and well on this album, making a ‘comeback’ of sorts for a new generation of listeners.
"Heavy Metal Love 2006" is an interesting addition to this E.P. Almost identical to the original recording, it has been re-recorded here mainly to coincide with the release of the Trailer Park Boys’ movie, which prominently features the original version. Although I hate to say it, this song is nearly note-for-note the same as the original, with one major difference - Brian’s vocals are much stronger. Like a fine wine, this guy just gets better with age.
As if the previous songs on the EP didn’t already answer the final song’s title question with a resounding YES, "Do You Believe in Rock and Roll?" will most certainly do so. This mid-tempo rocker is another song to feature the Fountain/MacEachern groove. A great song that will go over with a live audience quite well. The way Rob just rides the cymbals in parts just gives it that little bit of extra freshness to it. The scatter unexpected bass run or little guitar licks just add to it all. The live audience is featured here as well but with a little 'Vollmer Stage Banter'. This ties in with the opening track perfectly and gels the whole release together perfectly.
A full on heavy rock album, GET UP! proves that hard-hitting Helix is back and set to take on the world. This E.P. is similar to their first couple of Capitol offerings - no ballads, just balls-out, in-your-face Rock n’ Roll. As Brian Vollmer would say, “Is there any other kind?”
Baby Likes To Ride
The Past Is Back (To Kick Your Ass)
Heavy Metal Love 2006
Do You Believe In Rock and Roll
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