By Ross Dallas
Boston band St Helena performed at WERS today for Local Music Week. They’re fresh off a release show for their new album, Slow Jack, which they played Saturday at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square, Cambridge.
“This EP is a really, really good introduction of what St Helena is,” front man Patrick Teahan told WERS. “This will be a foundation from where we’ll keep raising up a bar.”
The band comprises Teahan on guitar/keys/vocals, Shawn King Devlin, drums, Keith Wales, bass/vocals, Magen Tracy keyboard/vocals, and Chaetan Newell, guitar/vocals.
At WERS they talked with host David Weaver about the Boston music scene and their new EP.
St Helena started their set with “Appian Way,” a track from Slow Jack. The song evokes the tones and timbres of Dean Wareham’s post-Galaxy 500 band Luna, and Teahan’s voice and style bring to mind Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s no surprise that both Luna and Neutral Milk Hotel are listed as influences on the group’s MySpace page.
They continued with “Peppered Assault on Reality,” from their 2005 release Happy, then ended by playing “Piper Laurie,” a song inspired by the 1961 film The Hustler, and named after its starring actress.
Between songs, Teahan said the members of St Helena, some of whom started performing together in 2003, have grown closer over time.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie amongst the five of us,” he said.
Tracy spoke of an even larger sense of fraternity within the city’s local music scene. She’s experienced a strong sense of networking and communication among local artists in the Bean.
“It’s a good time in Boston right now,” she said.
For now, St Helena is on a “radio campaign around New England and New York,” says Teahan. They’re booked for a series of gigs from April through June, and then they’ll start recording again later in 2009. Teahan is also in the early stages of launching a musician’s resource web site.