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The Helio Sequence: Keep Your Eyes Ahead


The Helio Sequence: Keep Your Eyes Ahead

Label:Subpop
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2008
Genre:Rock/Pop

By Ed Schrader | Posted 2/6/2008

Making a dramatic departure from its by now quite stale 2004 album Love and Distance, the Helio Sequence's Keep Your Eyes Ahead sounds almost like an explanation for the duo's three-year absence. Trading in gleeful psychedelia for stripped, square pop, it's a refreshingly abrupt changing of tides for the duo of Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel, who sound like they've been replaced by Isaac Brock and a Nashville session musician.

The makeover does the Helio Sequence team justice. They cover a broad range of emotional territory, from the slow whining guitars of "The Captive Mind," a regret-laden tale of one who left everything behind for the "the plastic beach" of Mandalay Bay, to the paradoxical "Back to This," with musings like, "I pray for rain while the water's rising fast/ one side is late, the other side too soon."

Keep Your Eyes Ahead makes no bones about its obsession with relationships that are either derailed ("Lately," "No Regrets,") or in the process of derailing. On "Shed Your Love," Summers sounds like a hybrid of Paul Simon and Willie Nelson, singing, "the ride was short but my thoughts were long/ spent the night in someone else's arms," over introspective acoustic plucking and Midnight Cowboy string arrangements. These wistful sentiments are soon dusted off with the album's rowdy harmonica-loaded, foot-stomping closer, "No Regrets," which proclaims, "I'll have no regrets/ I'll walk out that door/ and I wont shed a tear." What a little heartbreak can do for a band.

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