“The Innocents” – Helen Boulding
Helen Boulding’s been on the playlist here at Riot Towers for a few years now (4 to be precise, since her “New Red Dress” album) and that’s quite an achievement because we listen to a lot of music and we have very short attention spans. So any time she releases anything new, we take a bit of an interest.
Her new single “The Innocents” is out this week and if you’re already a fan then you won’t be disappointed. The intro is a brief highly-processed keyboard pattern which stays in the mix virtually throughout the song. It’s joined very quickly by an acoustic guitar part, followed straight away by Helen Boulding’s pure, clear vocal. Lyrically it’s a snapshot from a developing relationship and has that personal feel common to most of her songs which is enhanced by clarity of the vocal and the shift towards a breathy emphasis to bring out that extra ounce of emotion.
The chorus is a huge production with multi-layered harmonies and some electric guitar which wouldn’t sound out of place on an ‘80s U2 single before we drop back into the more laid-back verse. We even get a string section thrown in for good measure in the third verse and maybe that’s indication of my only reservation about this production.
The song is about innocence and, for me, the production on this version smothers the feeling of the song by throwing a few too many tricks at it. It’s a good song, but I think it needs a little more space to breathe.