The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Platters


Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, March 14, 2008, Music

The Helio Sequence

Keep Your Eyes Ahead (Sub Pop)

The songwriting and musicianship on display by this Portland duo reveal two staggeringly talented artists. Unfortunately, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the pair's fourth album, suffers from multiple personality disorder. It's a lushly sensitive indie-rock disc, jangly alterna-rock CD, and edgy Americana platter all in one uneasy mix. The good: "Can't Say No," energetic, earnest, and accented with an endearingly choppy vocal syntax. "Hallelujah," an earnest march at home on a Modest Mouse effort (drummer Benjamin Weikel worked briefly with that group). The bad: "Shed Your Love" is airy and atmospheric but breaks with the rest of the album's energy/ethos. The ugly: The production is more than a little heavy-handed on the title track; vocalist Brandon Summers sounds like he's singing into an aluminum can at the bottom of a well. Sadly, there's no cohesive center upon which the listener can focus. (Friday, March 14, Bourbon Rocks Patio, 11:30pm.)


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