20080131

All Eyes Ahead


When I first heard of its release, The Helio Sequence's Keep Your Eyes Ahead became one of those anticipated records of 2008 for me. 2004's Love and Distance was a unique and likable blend of Nintendo-esque programming, impeccably tasteful guitar licks, and harmonica. It had moxie and youthful exuberance.

It took 4 years to release this and pressure inevitably mounts over time. Sure, other things go on: fatherhood, personal tragedies, side projects, writer's block, voice ailments. But usually after a layoff like that, you're expecting something special to come through your speakers. This record certainly isn't without special moments, though half of them are almost too-Dylan to come across as seriously moving. The opening two-punch of "Lately" and "Can't Say No" start it off with serious intentions, refining L&D's sound into something more mature with more than a little longing along for the ride. Beginning to end, this record is very well balanced, probably moreso than the last one. It's growing on me with every listen. I hear a lot of influences here, some more blatant than others. Josh Ritter, Rogue Wave, Bob Dylan, The Shins, Bruce Springsteen, Joy Division...company we'd all be honored to keep. I guess I just miss the spunk and originality of the Helio Sequence. That said, keeping my eyes ahead, I can see this is a stellar LP.

It's rhyme time.

Listen:
Can't Say No
Broken Afternoon
[from Keep Your Eyes Ahead|buy]

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