If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Of course, as The Helio Sequence have come to realize, the reverse is just as true: If it’s broke, you better damn well fix it.
It’s an approach to their music cultivated out of the Portland duo’s 2005 dilemma. Fresh off of 2004 release, Love and Distance, and tours with the likes of Modest Mouse, Blonde Redhead and Kings of Leon, The Helio Sequence–composed of Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel– was poised to become Sub Pop’s newest eclectic darling. Cue crisis.
While on tour, guitarist and lead singer, Brandon Summers began to realize that his vocal cords were unable to keep up with the band’s frenetic pace and by early the next year a doctor advised him to take a hiatus from singing. But for a band on the rise, the diagnosis while alarming, wasn’t acceptable. Instead of turning into the newest post-rock duo, The Helio Sequence tried something new, with Summers beginning extensive oral exercises to change his vocal execution.
The result? 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead an album defined not only by some beautifully intertwined keyboards and guitar riffs, but also Summers new laid-back, pacifying lyrical delivery. Even on “Hallelujah,” the Sub Pop-described “fiery anthem” of the album, Summers eases into the track with a tangible coolness that is just a much a band trademark now as the ambient electronics or the rapid-fire drum beat.
The band’s latest release, the song “Converter,” off a celebratory Record Store Day compilation seems more of the same. Floating keyboard contributions, pop-pop-pop percussion and Summers, mellower than ever before drifting through the B-side track from the band’s new, unnamed-album. Looks like The Helio Sequence has found the formula and if “Converter” is any indicator their next release should be one to keep an eye out for in the coming months.
The Helio Sequence- Converter (download)
The Helio Sequence- Hallelujah (download)