Arms of Kismet: Dawn of ‘The Helium Age’

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Purveyor of “toe-tapping, tragicomic rock ’n’ roll” returns with new album.

U.S. independent label Wampus Multimedia introduces ‘The Helium Age,’ the recorded return of Virginia-based rock music collective Arms of Kismet.

It had a genesis all its own.

Singer-songwriter Mark Doyon barely remembers when he first heard the 5th Dimension singing the Jimmy Webb song, “Up, Up and Away.” But sometime in the late ’60s, the sunny pop tune made itself at home in his preschool mind.

“It wasn’t just the melody or performance that got to me. It was the message of this balloon floating through the sky. And suggesting anyone could try that.”

Fast-forward to 2016 and Doyon is talking about ‘The Helium Age,’ the fourth album from Arms of Kismet since 2004. True to its origins, it takes a bird’s-eye view, from the salad days of youth to the epiphanies of middle age. “I was watching my kids grow up, seeing my parents get older… and realizing I was right in the middle, learning from all of them.”

From paeans to lost innocence (“Angels in the Snow,” “Careless World”) to ruminations on time’s passage (“Greyhound,” “Forever”) to odes to art and love (“F. Scott and Everything He Wrote,” “S.O.S.”), ‘The Helium Age’ whirls through a multi-colored sky. Flecks of Dylan and the Clash and the Flaming Lips, the Kinks and Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman, stream like light through a kaleidoscope.

“Sometimes I hear an inflection in one of my songs,” Doyon says, “and I realize an artist I heard years ago left me a few breadcrumbs. When I started thinking about the balloon, I really didn’t know why. It just seemed random. And then it was obvious.”

Arms of Kismet summons a warm, analog vibe that sounds as natural in a coffeehouse as it does on a car radio. Guitars and dancebeats coat sugary melodies and fractured lyrics, blending genres in offbeat and revelatory ways. Brooding and poppy, funny and foreboding, it’s toe-tapping, tragicomic rock ’n’ roll.

‘The Helium Age’ joins a Wampus Multimedia roster that includes recent and imminent releases from tvfordogs, Uncle Green, Waterslide, Big Bus Dream, Aux.78, The Crowd Scene, Gilbert Neal, the matthew show, The May Bees, Johnny J Blair, and Kowtow Popof, as well as popular tributes to Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed, and Warren Zevon.

Wampus Multimedia is an independent media label run by artists, for artists. Its credo is simple: to introduce the world to bold content rendered by unique artists. It is home to a growing roster from a variety of genres, including pop, AAA, Americana, alternative, ambient, blues, and folk.

‘The Helium Age’ is available at Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes, Bandcamp, and many other outlets.

Arms of Kismet

Wampus Multimedia

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