Music reviewREVIEW: Taylor Jules — Helicopter (SINGLE/VIDEO)
Like a gentle breeze initiating the first chilly evidence of a new season on the horizon, a piano interrupts the silence with a warm tonality that will soon yield a potent melody in “Helicopter,” the new single from Taylor Jules. Jules’ conservative dispatch of harmonic notes pushes us into a vortex of colors before returning us to a steady beat that lets all who are listening float alongside the brash rhythm ruling over the music. The vocal is but a minor element at this stage of the song, but it’s almost like the instruments are whispering something to us in some instinctive language beyond what lyrics can provide. “Helicopter” is a sobering and quite enticing listen for those of us who have been aching for something original this winter but have felt underwhelmed by the offerings of an increasingly out-of-touch mainstream pop scene.
“Helicopter” is constructed elegantly, much as a symphony would be, and there’s a lot of attention paid to even the subtlest of details in the tempo, textured melodies, and harmonious interplay between the fury provided by the bass and the drums and the rather fragile poise of the piano. I think that it’s more than obvious that Jules is invested in every aspect of the recording process, as there’s passion in the tide that guides her verse from one moment to the next all too seamlessly. She’s painting us a picture without ever raising a brush to canvas or having to resort to predictable poeticisms, and in an era dominated by emoji-driven plasticity and filtered Instagram photos, hers is a style that stands out quite well.
An immense release hits us like a ton of bricks as the wall of ambient textures starts to dissipate around halfway through the song, but Jules doesn’t let off the gas as we inch closer and closer to the climactic finish. There’s indulgence in the melodies that adds to the complexities in the instrumentation ever so subtly, and it never diminishes the production value of the track for a second — from where I sit, the balance within the mix is enough to keep us tuned into every movement in this song from beginning to end, even without the bewitching lead that Jules is providing us from the helm of the studio.
As “Helicopter” retreats into the ethers from which it triumphantly emerged only a few minutes earlier, it’s hard to deny a natural impulse to listen to it all over again, if for no other reason than to bask in the harmony that comes together seemingly quicker than we’re able to appreciate it. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything quite as engaging as this when surfing your local FM dial this season, but those of us who have been keeping an eye on the wilting underground outside of the American west coast in the past couple of years could have told you as much. Jules reaches through the speakers and delivers a powerful melody that is dreamlike in its surreal structure here, and whether you’ve got a taste for the sharper side of indie pop or not, it’s worth a second glance this month.