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Keep Your Eyes Ahead

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Helio Sequence

Keep Your Eyes Ahead

12" LP

Availability: In stock

$12.99

Quick Overview

For just two guys, the Helio Sequence can generate a serious racket. With the effusive drumming of Benjamin Weikel (who also plays keyboards), and the nimble use of effects pedals from guitarist/vocalist Brandon Summers, their 2000 debut Com Plex leaned toward My Bloody Valentine-like daydreamy noisescapes. Their output since then has evolved, with a deepening commitment to pop melody and structure. Keep Your Eyes Ahead is the truest expression so far of that trait. Summers maintains a grainy quality to his singing, but he's added sweetness and a lighter sense of tone. That shift toward lightness extends to the songwriting, which on Eyes is consistently catchy and focused. "Can't Say No" uses a double-time cadence in the verse to make the song's hook burst like the sun through a hurricane’s eye. Not that they’ve forgotten how to bring the shoegaze; "Hallelujah," for one, flies off into space on a wave of epic, bliss-fuzz guitar. Still, the record is short and cries out for one last big scream. Instead, they end with the whisper of "Broken Afternoon" and the folksy, Dylan-esque "No Regrets." Their increasing subtlety has cost them some grandeur, but their melodious gifts are more seductive than ever.

Details

On 2004's Love and Distance, frontman Brandon Summers found his voice and pushed it the forefront of his band's swirling sound. The album was a step forward for the Helio Sequence, but it was still a haphazard move, one that found Summers yelping and shouting in an attempt to deliver a memorable performance. The frontman had an even tougher time on the road, where a string of shows steadily whittled his voice down to a raspy fraction of its original power. Four years later, Summers appears to have regained the use of his pipes, and the band's fourth album, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, is another sonic jump. Summers no longer yelps, perhaps because his scarred throat simply won't let him, and the group now alternates between massive psych-rock, dreamy pop, and Dylan-influence folk. For a band that used to channel My Bloody Valentine's mix of noise and beauty, folksy ballads like "Broken Afternoon" and "Shed Your Love" are a big change, a result of Summers' desire to slow down the band's galloping pace. But the group is still able to build up cloudy walls of sound, adding bubbling electronics and layers of instruments into songs that are lush, towering, and altogether gorgeous. The album's biggest songs -- "Hallelujah," "Can't Say No," and the reverb-drenched title track -- are driven not only by dense guitars, but also a new focus on melody. They're still too loud to be the work of a genuine pop band, but that's certainly where the Helio Sequence seems to be heading, having trimmed the length of their tunes (nothing here exceeds the 4:30 mark) and emphasized songcraft over pure ambience. If Love and Distance was the album that pushed the Helio Sequence off the rails, Keep Your Eyes Ahead is the sound of the duo getting back on track.

Additional Information

Artist Helio Sequence
Track Listing 1 Lately - 4:10 2 Can't Say No - 3:32 3 The Captive Mind - 3:34 4 You Can Come to Me - 4:00 5 Shed Your Love - 3:18 6 Keep Your Eyes Ahead - 4:25 7 Back to This - 3:34 8 Hallelujah - 4:29 9 Broken Aftrenoon - 4:18 10 No Regrets - 1:42

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