February 21, 2008

Test Spin: The Helio Sequence

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The beginning of “Broken Afternoon,” off of The Helio Sequence’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead, is sort of a microcosm of the rest of the album. The song opens with atmospheric hums and drones familiar to electronic music, but is shortly thereafter interrupted by the incongruous strumming of an acoustic guitar and … wait, is that Bob Dylan singing?
No, no it isn’t, but you get the point. The Oregon-based musical duo that makes up The Helio Sequence had already carved out a niche for themselves in a relatively new sub-genre sometimes referred to as “Indie Rocktronica” (think The Postal Service but less girly). Then, when lead singer Brandon Summers was recuperating from vocal chord damage in 2005, he read up on all manner of music, and tinkered with the band’s style — now considerably more Dylan-esque. Truth be told, the sound isn’t revolutionary or anything, and it is significantly more “rock” than “-tronica.” But hey, it makes for a good listen regardless and can probably be counted as one of the better albums we’ll see in 2008.