Torres – “Helen in the Woods” (Singles Going Steady)

This is a song full of promise, but it burns right up when it flies a little too close to the sun.

Steve Horowitz: Just in time for Halloween, a truly spooky track. That Helen is some scary lady. The songs’ sonics do a good job of creating a creepy atmosphere that increases in intensity as the story goes from beginning to middle to end without a break. Torres’ vocals warble enough to mimic madness without being over the top — or at least too far over the top! She dastardly stalks the listener without stealth. You know she’s singing directly to you even though she doesn’t know who you are. [8/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: I’m all for spooky, faux old-time folktales set to synth beats, and “Helen in the Woods” is undoubtedly that — but does Torres have to push quite so hard? Her voice sounds a little more strained than eerie as she shouts out the lyrics, and it makes what could have been an excellent piece of electronic folk music a little hard to listen to. This is a song full of promise, but it burns right up when it flies a little too close to the sun. [6/10]

Tristan Kneschke: Antagonistic and unblinking, Mackenzie Scott stares the viewer down in “Helen in the Woods”. The confrontational video was shot on 16mm, increasingly an anomaly. The in-camera effects personify the “funny in the head” stalker of the title as Scott becomes progressively more unhinged. “Helen” could have easily been stretched to double its length, but at less than three minutes, the songwriting is efficient and acute, and when combined with the video, even a bit terrifying. [5/10]

William Nesbitt: Enthusiastic and disturbing. Too much wailing. There is potential here, but this track is grating and the video takes itself much too seriously (though that hand-to-head thing like she is using some mental powers is a cool pose). You can make up your own mind about lyrics that say — as best I can tell since the Internet has failed me — “Mama proved they hitched a pose / So Helen broke her mama’s nose / Dad said what’d you do to that girl / Something’s come and made her whiskers curl.” I don’t get it. As I kept listening to it and trying to figure out the lyrics, strangely it began to grow on me (like a fungus, perhaps). Is this a ten or a two? [6/10]

Ian Rushbury: A three-note synth bassline and a drum machine on Preset 1 makes up the lion’s share of the instrumentation on “Helen in the Woods”. Torres uses a UK Goth 1985 vocal approach which works surprisingly well. She also does a great job of looking genuinely unhinged in the video which is a real skill. I can’t help thinking that this is the kind of thing that Marilyn Manson’s younger sister would do when she should have been tidying her room. [5/10]

SCORE: 6.00