Helio Sequence
Sat June 26
Crystal Ballroom
1332 W. Burnside

The first track of Helio Sequence's Love and Distance blasts with reverb-drenched harmonica, psychedelic stomped-guitar, and vaguely '70s inflected vocals, signaling the beginning of an album alive with compound pop.

"I think [the album] is going to surprise a lot of people," says Brandon Summers, the singing, harmonica, and guitar-playing member of the two-person band, "because it is so different. But we went into it knowing that we wanted it to be a pop record."

Fans of the band's prior full-lengths, 2000's Com Plex and 2001's Young Effectuals, may find themselves taken aback because those albums are rock hard slabs of blurry dissonance and vocal confusion, backed by difficult to detect, delicate melody. Says drummer Benjamin Weikel, who also plays keyboards, "I really like Young Effectuals because it is crazy and wild, super-emotional, and a lot to digest." Summers adds that if he remembers correctly, a similar confusion about the band's direction happened when Young Effectuals came out, though, "because people said, 'Wow, it's so noisy and full,'" he explains. Com Plex was much darker in a spooky, drugged-out way, yet still grabbed you by the throat, closing with unease where Young Effectuals throttled and spun out.

Each song on Love and Distance reflects an inarguable sense of two musicians maturing as artists, together. Says Summers, "Everything we do is a natural progression, and that involves going in different directions with our creativity." The 23-year-old singer gets a bit philosophical, adding, "The way that this new material mixes in with our crazier, faster stuff adds variety and beauty to the set and I think that it is a reflection of where both of us have been in our lives for the past two years--we've grown up. Especially in the last six or seven months, I look back on how much I've grown up, and it's more than I can even fathom."