Some bands can’t do anything but rock. Helms Alee is one of them. Adhering to the ebb and flow of post-grudge, bar-chord mythology, the group’s third album, “Sleepwalking Sailors,” is a monolithic assessment of volume, tension and release. The songs are grandiose expressions of emphatic intention. The mauling pop of “Pinniped” gives way to the gnarled crawl of “Dangling Modifiers” as if the band is moving boulders up and down over inhospitable inclines. At varying speeds, each exercise builds into a cathartic burst. The concussed juxtaposition of male and female vocal harmonies humanizes the elephantine nature of the music and makes the group-therapy sessions heavy and delicate at the same time. On Friday, Sept. 2, Helms Alee applies its gluey porch treatments on the stage at Strange Matter. Washington and Richmond trio Polyon and River City agit-poppers Manzara open. 9 p.m. $10. strangematterrva.com.
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