Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Helio Sequence Keep Your Eyes Ahead

I've been meaning to put out the good word on this album for quite a while now.  When I first heard the title track "Keep Your Eyes Ahead" I was instantly in love with Portland, OR duo known as The Helio Sequence.

Keep Your Eyes Ahead is an album that can't be pinned down to one distinct sound.  It shifts effortlessly through Shoegaze and Britpop sounds, to New Romantic and folk all without leaving you jarred by the changes in style.  The album starts off in the Shoegaze fashion with "Lately" and the spectacular "Can't Say No" and then into a New Romantic feel of "The Captive Mind."  The stunning picking on "Shed Your Love" adds to the honest lyrics and approachable vocals that are a highlight of the album.  Vocalist Brandon Summers has a very Dylan-esque sound and Beat poet feel to it on "Shed Your Love" and "Broken Afternoon."

"Keep Your Eyes Ahead" is the most interesting songs on the album.  For a duo, a drummer and guitarist only, the sound the dense, rich sound they are able to make is amazing.  It's an example of how they use programming, keys and sequencers to give their two-tone sound into a fuller dynamic.

Even though I just now (read: finally) heard this album so late in the year, I think it easily has to be one of top albums of the year.  There are a lot of artists who try to make music that sounds like what The Helio Sequence does with a full band and they pull it off with just two people.

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