by Michael Jolly
Mary Timony, the talented leader of the indie rock trio Helium, continues her increasingly personal musical journey with the solo album, Mountains. After Helium’s exemplary debut effort, The Dirt of Luck, Timony expanded a tough girl lyrical stance to include a more obtuse world of dragons and unicorns, among other things. The next album, 1997’s The Magic City, was suitably infused with prog rock values and folky, medieval textures.
All of the tracks on the new record could certainly pass for Helium tunes, but what gives these songs their own identity is the sparse, insular sound marked by keyboards and drum machines. But for the most part, Mountains finds Timony traversing the same musical and lyrical territory as The Magic City. She even appropriates the stock traditional folk line “As I rode out one winter’s day” in “The Golden Fruit.”
The album begins with “Dungeon Dance” featuring Timony accompanied only by melodramatic piano, but the album soon expands to include muscular and complex rock songs like “Poison Moon” and “The Bell.” That some of these songs are starting to sound a bit too familiar suggests that it might be time for Timony to pick up a few more musical tricks. Still, this is fascinating stuff. Timony’s current solo tour makes a stop at the Troubadour on Monday, May 15. Hopefully, the live setting will give her an opportunity to revisit some Helium favorites and show off her masterful guitar playing.
From Entertainment Today, 5/12/00, Heavy Rotation