Keep Your Eyes Ahead
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|2. Can't Say No|
|3. The Captive Mind|
|4. You Can Come To Me|
|5. Shed Your Love|
|6. Keep Your Eyes Ahead|
|7. Back To This|
|9. Broken Afternoon|
|10. No Regrets|
After three albums and ten years of touring and recording, in 2008 The Helio Sequence deliver their most dynamic work to date. This record marries the Portland duo's signature layered keyboards and impossibly big guitars with crisp songwriting and a newfound appreciation for minimalism. Sub Pop Records.
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 hurricanes eye. Not that theyve 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. --Matthew Cooke
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One thing remains constant; the beats are wicked--I love the drummer's style and chops. (I also like the way he moves his head live--reminds me of Animal--but that's another story.)
The album starts out meloncholy and melodic with Lately--which slowly builds up towards the end. Next, Can't Say No is up beat and catchy. The rythym of the drums matched by some tight lyrics--this one could be a hit. The Captive Mind is the next track--still has a driving beat but is more introspective. You Can Come To Me starts out with some signature beeps and bleeps and blends in some slick acoustic guitar with less dominating beats.
Shed Your Love is acoustic, soft, devoid of drums. A lullaby.
Keep Your Eyes Ahead brings back the upbeat drums but adds a really beautiful guitar feel which reminds me of--I don't know--The Chameleons UK, the Cure, Joy Division, Pink Floyd and a dash of Coldplay. I have no idea really.
I could continue yapping about each tracks--but the point is that this is a very solid album--possibly their best work yet.
The band delves into many different styles (electronic tinged pop, acoustic melancholy, shoegaze, shambling country blues) while always retaining its signature sound. The highlights are Lately, The Captive Mind, You Can Come to Me, Keep Your Eyes Ahead and Hallelujah on the upbeat pop side of things and Shed Your Love, Back To This, Broken Afternoon and No Regrets on the softer, more melancholic side of things.
Back to This hearkens to Young Effectuals with subtle and heartbreaking effects that drift underneath the main melodic parts. Shed Your Love goes without drums, but it doesn't need them. The barely-audible sonic flourishes might even make the song.
In addition to the music, the lyrics are outstanding (On a subway train before the dawn/the ride was short but my thoughts were long from Shed Your Love, or, Sometimes you feel so lonely haunted and stark/waving in the wind like a flag that's torn apart from Broken Afternoon).
Simply put, the Helio Sequence has crafted another perfect album, musically, lyrically, emotionally and thematically. All the critics that peed their pants after Love and Distance are going to have to get on Ritalin to settle their minds after this one.
Elitist fans who think a band shouldn't "fix what ain't broke" might shy away or hold back praise. But a band is allowed to change, and I feel as though they have found a more mature sound.
I love it.