The Helio Sequence Love and Distance

As a duo, the Helio Sequence — Benjamin Weikel and Brandon Summers — stretch out their limitations to the fullest, giving an award-winning performance as a full four- or five-piece band on the debut record for Sub Pop, Love and Distance. The illusion they beam is partly thanks to the multitasking work of Weikel, who keeps his fingers busy hitting skins and tickling his keyboards. His admirable coordination skills are captured throughout most of the album, as the lively synth notes compensate generously for the limitations of the guitar, vocals and drums. Of course, as most space rock acts tend to rely on, the Helio Sequence’s music is lathered in effects pedals that expand Summers’ guitar and warp its notes into swirling, psychedelic confusion. While Weikel was recording this album, he was also busy filling in on drums for Modest Mouse, whose influence is not totally absent (after all, they are signed to the label Isaac Brock works for). "Don’t Look Away” sounds an awful lot like a couple of songs from Modest Mouse’s latest and to be fair, part of the record was recorded in Brock’s garage. Such nitpicking is petty, for the Helio Sequence have pulled off an enjoyable space rock odyssey that doesn’t lose control when it’s trailing off into the stars. (Sub Pop)