The Helio Sequence is comprised of two artists who craft gorgeous, incredibly tight indie-pop songs that pull the listener in with catchy hooks that later refuse to leave the respective brain. They aren’t creating anything terribly unusual; rather, it’s the precision and beauty with which they create timeless songs, pieces of art that feel as familiar as a comfortable hoody on a cool fall day – the hoody you want to wear again and again.
On the duo’s fifth studio album, Negotiations, The Helo Sequence continues to build on their sound of enthusiastically percussive, melodic tunes. Singer Brandon Summers’ vocals remain as dreamily light and airy as always, though still, as always, suffused with an emotive intensity that drives the listener forward. The production quality of Negotiations is arguably better than that of past albums; it’s clear, very polished-sounding, and tight, without getting into the realm of overproduction that often serves to warn the listener that this band is anything but this good live (indeed, Helio Sequence remains one of the better bands this writer has ever seen, with an intense live show that somehow simultaneously doesn’t obliviate the harmonic, lighter aspects of their work).
If you’re a long-time Helio Sequence listener, this album will not surprise you, nor disappoint; indeed, it feels like picking up the next installment of a great series of books, with the author continuing to grow with each book, maturing in content, in tone, and in presentation. And if you are not yet in the Helio Sequence fold, get thee to your nearest point of music acquisition; this album is not to be missed.