'There’s a description of Self Help on their Facebook page that makes me want to burn everything down: “Wacky garage pop”. This brings to mind Blink 182, grown-ups wearing cargo shorts, Timmy Mallett, and awkwardly self- conscious music that’s so far from invention and enjoyment that it’s almost painful. So, it’s a more- than-pleasant surprise that – on the basis of this six-track EP – Oxford four-piece Self Help are in fact spectacularly good.
There was a point in musical history – around the first-half-to-first-three-quarters of the 1990s
– when a crop of (largely American, but not exclusively so) indie guitar bands mixed post- grunge noise with the rambunctious indie-pop
of the 1980s. Labels like Slumberland and Simple Machines operated just below the radar, and bands like Lilys and Built To Spill poked their headstocks into the mainstream with cute, complicated, enjoyable and creative guitar-based noise-pop. Self Help, given a time machine, could slot into that scene quite easily. They’ve artfully eschewed the points of failure of many other up-and-coming bands – those being, largely, obsessing over sounding like various points of Simple Minds’ career, making sure that their ‘brand’ is strong, and that their recordings sound as professionally bland as possible – and instead they upchuck six songs full of energy, verve, twisty melodies and a sense of joie de vivre that is beautifully listenable.
I hope that Self Help don’t change too much. This EP could represent a perfect moment for a band: the point at which they’re together enough to write, record and release six gems, but before they start to think about where they’re going and what comes next. Maybe I’m wrong, and they are in fact carefully orchestrating every move. If that’s the case, I’m sad. Maybe they are “wacky garage pop”, as they combine entertainingly arch lyrics with high-speed melodic ramshacklement. If so, the only change I really think they need to make is to come up with a better description for themselves. They deserve it.'
Simon Minter - Nightshift Magazine 2018
released December 21, 2018
Written and performed by Self Help
Produced/Mixed - Jimmy Hetherington
Mastered - Tim Turan
Album Artwork - Mike Halliwell
Photos - Helen Messanger