The Helio Sequence's new release, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, didn't make much sense at first. How could two people create such a rich, effortless racket? Thirty-odd listens into these musical Portlanders, and I had it: focus. Focus surely allowed Brandon Summers (vocals, guitar) and Benjamin Weikel (drums, keyboards) to harness their muse. These guys have no need to complicate matters at all. Too many singers and songwriters attempt to force-feed their ideas and intimations like a group of angry protesters on the front lawn. Summers' beautiful voice, however, sneaks in through the bedroom window, climbs in bed with pre-warmed feet and suggestively whispers the sweetest nothings. Thing is, these are decidedly not nothings.
"Lately," the album opener, finds Summers' pitiful character denying any lingering feelings for a love lost. You know he's lying, but his take on the lovelorn proves that there positively are still new ways of telling a story.
In a terrifically surprising moment, "You Can Come to Me" makes good use of what seems to be a sample of a video game character screeching halt. Evidence of Weikel's Modest Mouse drumming pedigree is plentiful, especially on "Can't Say No" and "The Captive Mind." The whole thing illustrates something gentle, dreamy, yet somehow persistent. Seeing the songs performed live, it's easy to imagine becoming immersed in this collection of beauties and appreciating that the lyrics are just as weighty as the music, in a kinder, gentler sort of way.
March 9 with Low-Fi, $5, 9 p.m., Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.