Saturated in warm synths that weave through twangy slide guitars, this sun-soaked dream is everything you’d want on an introspective Sunday afternoon drive.

Illustrator and designer David DiAngelis, who records under the name Helenor, is well-versed in the realm of visual art. With a profound appreciation for art, DiAngelis grew the desire to experiment with creating visceral experiences through sound. In his home-recorded debut LP, Something Twice, DiAngelis focuses on the patterns that begin to take shape in our lives—the sentiments and experiences that become habitual, affecting our perspective on concepts ranging from relationships to identity. Speculating on the inner workings of how these cycles affect us, whether it be a mindset we find ourselves trapped in, or experiences we can’t seem to stop replaying, this sepia-toned LP paints a complicated atmosphere. DiAngelis welcomes the idea that to find tranquility within these routines we find ourselves trapped in, we must slow down, take a breath, and learn to let go. 

Sonically lackadaisical, DiAngelis offsets the not-so-light lyrics to advocate breaking free from the blues that overwhelm us and letting go in order to overcome. “Ocean State” is a spellbinding synth-soaked song that invites all senses to delve into a blissful state of mind. He sings about going on a “feeling spree” as he finds himself weaving in and out of a mental crisis, experiencing an array of emotions at once. He sings, “Existential third degree / I defuse internally / But I’ll be free again.” DiAngelis elevates himself into an ocean state of mind, as he rises alongside this sunny melody he’s created which will free him from crumbling.

A few tracks in, reflective guitars and twinkly synths emerge, introducing “Artifact.” In this track, DiAngelis sings about the life of a wanderer, one without a path that permits life to take its own course. “It’s a good life/ When you’re aimless…if you look back at a warpath / At least you know / You were alive.” He highlights the idea that one feels most alive when they allow life to lead them—when they allow themselves to be totally and utterly free, contrasting the idea that a life of habitual tendencies is comforting, when in truth, it often restrains us. 

Landslide” kicks in a few tracks later, and DiAngelis confronts his meandering thoughts over a placid, psychedelic backdrop: “I go from confident / To a grown child,” emphasizing the notion that there’s no such thing as permanence when it comes to feelings. When the chorus hits, he sings, “Everyone is sloppy in a landslide / It’s not all that complicated / Trust yourself.”  DiAngelis encourages the listener to cease the urge to overthink and to build trust within ourselves, even when we’re amidst a sloppy, emotional metaphorical landslide.

The warmth that permeates each track is encouraging and enlightening. Ruminative guitars add a bluesy vibe to the vibrant synths that breathe throughout, building and collapsing ever so gently, guiding listeners to a state of mental freedom both sonically and lyrically from the mental habits and cycles that tend to weigh on us the most. Something Twice is an LP for us all, as it forms a soundscape that washes away all dreadful feelings; its verses relate to our tendencies as humans, but show us how we may break free from such ways if only we allow ourselves to. 

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