Comprised of Brandon Summers (vocals, guitar, production) and Benjamin Weikel (keyboards, drums) , the Beaverton, OR-based duo, The Helio Sequence met while they both worked at a local music store. Over the last 15 years, the duo have recorded and released an EP and five albums – the EP was self-released, the first two albums, Com Plex and Young Effectuals were released through Portland, OR-based label, Cavity Search, while their last three albums, Love and DistanceKeep Your Eyes Ahead and Negotiations were released through Sub Pop Records

The Helio Sequence’s forthcoming sixth, self-titled album is reportedly the duo’s most pop-orientated effort to date, as the material is (also reportedly) comprised of more straightforward and direct song structures with an emphasis on tight hooks. The self-titled effort’s first single “Stoic Resemblance” is arguably Summers and Weikel’s most effortless and catchy pop songs they’ve released to date – thundering boom, bap drumming is paired with angular, shimmering guitar chords and Summers’ seemingly disaffected vocals floating and darting through the mix. And although playfully breezy and upbeat, the song thematically is ironically enough about both existential anxiety and love; it suggests that love as wonderful as it is, is  often the the cause of some of our greatest crises. 

Interestingly while listening to this track, I was reminded of XTC’s “Mayor of Simpleton” as both are beguiling pop songs that are actually quite deceptive – they’re actually much deeper than they let on.