Helta Skelta, an Australian outfit founded in Perth and now based in Melbourne, releases their first full-length, Beyond the Black Stump, via Deranged Records this month. The album, which follows a few self-released singles dating back to 2011, is a formidable platter of snappy, zipped-up punk. It’s economical, with little more than spry riffs, spritely leads, and spartan drumbeats set to sinuous, lean arrangements. The mix, which privileges treble to rousing effect, foregrounds vocalist Jon Worpole’s classic sneer, the sort of droll, guttersnipe affect that feels inflected by insufferable boredom. And the album is laden with references to alienation: its titular “black stump,” a nod to Helta Skelta’s remote origins; “Island”, which takes ironic solace in having a bit of space all to one’s self; and the album cover, which depicts Australia’s flat, arid region of Nullarbor Plain.
Helta Skelta are slated to tour the United States in January.