The Helio Sequence
Negotiations - SUB POP
FILTER Grade: 78%
By Tamara Vallejos on September 12, 2012
Over the years, Portland-based duo The Helio Sequence has been carefully molding its approach, softening and smoothing from its electric-psychedelic beginnings and incorporating more dream-pop influences (along with some folksy leanings). On this, the band’s long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead, vocalist-guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer-keyboardist Benjamin Weikel are at their most ethereal. Album opener “One More Time” sets up the spacious feel on Negotiations, and it’s as if each bit of wistful reverb stretches out into infinity. Even so, there’s an overwhelming sense of intimacy hanging over the album’s 43 minutes, thanks to lyrics heavy on introspection and a sound served well by a new studio packed with vintage and analog gear. That romantic warmth comes through on each track, even those with walls of guitar and drum crescendos. So when Summers sings, “Hey now, draw yourself more near to me,” one can’t help but oblige.