1.13.08 | Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Keep Your Eyes Ahead
These guys know how to snack. Look at the photo below: doughnuts, cookies and milk perfectly and strategically placed. Does that ordered and harmonious tablesetting signify anything about their newest album Keep Your Eyes Ahead. Surely, and deliciously.
That’s not to say that The Helio Sequence’s music is wooden and fixed in any way. But I think that their songs have benefitted a bit from structure and order. The former album I heard, Love and Distance, had moments of brilliant pop and rock embedded in occasionally meandering electronic forays. The songs on this album just seem more concentrated and focused. If you think that I ripped that idea off from the official bio, you’re wrong – but it’s nice that we’re all on the same page there. Apparently, that is exactly the conclusion that Brandon Summers, who is one half of the duo that also includes Benjamin Weikel, came to after nearly losing his singing voice permanently. He opted to do some soul-searching, and I think the music benefits from it.
They sometimes kinda like fellow Subpop labelmates Rogue Wave, but Helio Sequence’s sound is a bit more ethereal and dreamy. Not cavernous reverb, but quite a bit. The synthesizer stuff is still there, but it’s very controlled. Instead of a distraction, it’s tasty flavoring – like the sprinkles on that doughnut. My favorite track on the album comes in past the halfway mark and is the title track. Bouncy, driving and melodic, “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” is sure to win over new fans with its power pop and slightly disco driven beat.
As a complete changeup, “Shed Your Love” is a lovely acoustic ballad, and is sure to get some face-time on teen angst OC type shows. Reminds me a bit of James for some reason. The plaintive country folk-singer song “Broken Afternoon” and the hoe-down of “No Regrets” is even more of a departure – dare I say it sounds like they’re taking a try at sounding like Dylan? Or maybe M. Ward? I know they’re no stranger to shades of country (the previous album had that”Harmonica Song”), but this is quite different – and I really like the new avenues they’re exploring..