A glimpse in the rearview

Beaverton duo the Helio Sequence made a name for themselves by creating catchy electronic pop music, bringing in drums, guitar and a harmonica to add some edge and a tinge of country to what would otherwise sound like every other electronic rock band with their new album, Love and Distance. But their recent show at the Doug Fir, while not a disappointment, painted a sound that didn’t bring anything new to the table. The duo perform well live, drummer Benjamin Weikel playing and sounding like he’s in his element with solid drumming and Brandon Summers singing music with a slight vibration and echo and a lot of passion, switching between guitar and harmonica or playing both. The music takes on a hint of ’80s psychedelic rock, sounding bright and embracing pop. But during the set the music began to take on a consistent sound that brought Savage Garden to mind. The ’90s band had a similar sonic sound, but it’s the lyrics that tie the two together. Helio Sequence knows what it’s doing electronically, and that’s what was at the forefront of previous albums. But now the lyrics are louder and emphasized, a mistake when you have offerings like “Blood Bleeds,” with “In a long time, travel really far, where I am nobody knows, anybody can, nobody does, somebody should,” or “Everyone knows Everyone” with, “there’s no escaping, there’s nothing to escape, for no good reason I think I’m going to stay.” It makes the music take on a pop quality of cheesiness, a shame with two musicians who play and create interesting sonic textures of experimentation. They just shouldn’t experiment with the lyrics.