The Helio Sequence: The Helio Sequence (Sub Pop) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Helio Sequence

The Helio Sequence

Sub Pop

Jun 15, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Negotiations was painful, a record from the heart and for the heart. The Helio Sequence's last release was borne from a difficult season of necessary introspection for Brandon Summers. Despite the album's acclaim, it's not surprising he wasn't keen on repeating the creative process.

While most of The Helio Sequence's catalog hasn't demanded such a cost, it's not uncommon for Summers and his longtime bandmate Benjamin Weikel to keep the writing and recording of an album rather insulated. That's what makes their choices regarding their new self-titled so refreshing.

The Helio Sequence features an adapted approach from a songwriting workshop attended by both Summers and Weikel that demanded 20 songs written and recorded in a single day. Instead of a single day, the pair pushed themselves to write as much as they could in a single month, and 26 songs later, the band had plenty of material in hand. Friends and family decided the final 10, which meant the final element of control was given away.

Whether or not the pair purposefully aimed for such cloudless compositions, it's impossible to ignore The Helio Sequence's ideal arrival in spring. They also make for an interesting juxtaposition with the actual lyrics. "Leave or Be Yours" demands relational answers amidst a breezy, even bright, refrain. "Red Shifting" maintains a lightness (and would sound at home on any Boxer Rebellion album) while Summers sings, "Let it bleed/Let it bleed/Let it all come out."

That said, the album's second half cannot rival the first. The short but stellar "Inconsequential Ties" is the only memorable refrain of the lot, and the dense layers of "Never Going Back" let the clouds back in again at album's end. It's an odd choice to anchor an otherwise open set with such a severe final track. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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