Helicopter
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Helicopter

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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"The Eagles had their Frey, Henley and Walsh. Helicopter's quartet of songwriters unravels a brilliant musical collage of country, hard rock, reggae and pop."

Country music has its share of hard rock crossovers. Seventies bands, like The Eagles, saw much success fusing hard rock and country. More recent acts like The Avett Brothers take the country sound to another level mixing it with frenetic rock rhythms, concocting a punkish aesthetic. Los Angeles, CA band Helicopter fulfills the same prophecy as The Eagles and The Avett Brothers, while throwing in some pop and reggae. It might come off as an ill attempt to be everything to everyone if they weren’t so damn good at it. On their 2009 debut album, Flight Risk, the quintet, hailing from places as far away as the Philippines (guitarist/vocalist Bruce Makabenta) and New Zealand (co-founder, drummer, songwriter, engineer and producer, Matthew Moore), demonstrate their expansive appetite for Southern-style classic rock, carefully crafted guitar-driven pop, reggae, and alt-country.

The explosive ear-opener and album's namesake, "Flight Risk," could certainly be a play on the band's potential to be searched at airports, given the wide range of backgrounds of each band member. The thunderous claps of drums and grouty vocals of Stefano Capobianco simultaneously channel Lenny Kravitz during his “Are You Gonna Go My Way” period and a softer, yet equally cool, Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame. Each successive song introduces a new element to the Helicopter sound. Johnny Kempt takes the helm on the second track, "When We Get Together," offering up a refreshing southern rock twang, while retaining those swilling raw guitar licks and badgering drum booms. If this track were around for airplay when “Easy Rider” was made, this song would have been perfect for those long motorcycle-rides down Route 66.

The album quickly eases off the beautiful raucous of hard rock into a bevy of country and pop love songs. This could indeed be the one "risk" of Flight Risk. Listeners could be confounded by the jolt of ballads, or, equally impressed by the band’s versatility. The latter holds up more here in this case, since they tend not to overdo anything they perform. The musicianship and detailed production work on each track shows making Flight Risk a risk worth taking. There is just the right amount of attitude with the Joe Cocker-esque growls of "Broken." Then there is the square love song, "Smile," with its bright hooks and fearless acoustic rhythms. The sonically explorative nature of "Strangers" gives way to a dark intrigue unseen anywhere else on Flight Risk. It is these unexpected and complex moments on the record that make this album interesting and worth listening to many times over.

Helicopter's armada of musical styles is a result of their diverse backgrounds. Four of the five band members that write the songs, each have their own distinct lyrical voice. The Eagles had their Frey, Henley and Walsh. Helicopter's quartet of songwriters unravels a brilliant musical collage of country, hard rock, reggae and pop. Helicopter’s Flight Risk would fit well on the record shelf of fans that love Eric Clapton, The Avett Brothers and The Allman Brothers.

Review by Michael Morgan - Michael Morgan


"Helicopter returns high-flying rock and soul show to San Juan"

There are countless live acts that have the ability to play classic rock, Top 40 and other popular music.

But Helicopter is in a class of its own, thanks to tight and shining vocal harmonies, virtuoso musicianship and high-octane live performances.
The quintet was well-received at its performance at the Swallow's Inn last month as part of the annual Swallows Day Parade, and it will bring its energetic show back to the venue Sunday afternoon.

The group mixes classic and modern rock songs with soul, dance and pop hits. Indeed, Helicopter's material comes from the 1950s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s.

Not many artists cover the wide-ranging likes of Neil Young's hard-rocking "Like a Hurricane," the Doors' blues-minded "Roadhouse Blues," the rockabilly-style Buddy Holly classic "That'll Be the Day" and material from Prince, Cheap Trick, Bee Gees and Billy Joel with equal aplomb.

Helicopter features the talents of Johnny Kempt (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Bruce Makabenta (vocals, guitar), Stefano Capobianco (vocals, guitar), Matthew Moore (drums, vocals) and Francesco DiCosmo (bass, vocals). - By ROBERT KINSLER


Discography

Helicopters Debut Album 'Flight Risk' is available on CD Baby and iTunes.

Photos

Bio

Helicopter is a Los Angeles rock band with the members coming from all parts of the world.
With a mix of British Rock & California Roots Rock, Helicopter has a unique sound that audiences have been coming out to hear. In June 2009, the band went into the studio to record their first album. The material is diverse but cohesive with 3 singers and 4 songwriters on the album. It has the sound and songwriting talent of many of the great classic rock bands. From stadium rockers to beautiful ballads and everything in between, Helicopter’s debut album ‘Flight Risk’ has something for everyone.

Drummer & songwriter Matthew Moore came to LA from New Zealand looking to start a band. Once he met fellow Brit/Kiwi singer songwriter Johnny Kempt the project was under way. With the songwriting talents of Matt and Johnny the band had a strong start. It didn't take long to find the other three members, Helicopter was up and running in only a few months.

Guitarist/Vocalist Bruce Makabenta had come to LA from the Philippines, he and Matthew met playing together in a previous band. Bruce's sound perfectly complemented where the new band wanted to go.

New Jersey singer songwriter Stefano Capobianco had come to LA to pursue his career when he met the boys at local jam sessions. Impressed with his guitar playing, vocals and songs he was asked to join.

Bass player and vocalist Francesco DiCosmo was originally born in Italy but raised in the States. He had just finished touring with Thin Lizzy when he met Helicopter. Francesco was impressed with the material and after jamming with the band decided to join.

Helicopter is currently in Silverfern Studios recording their second album due to come out at the end of summer 2010.

For more info contact Matthew Moore
626 399-1573
greenstonestudios@hotmail.com
www.helicopterband.com