MUSIC REVIEWS: Tim Fite and The Helio Sequence
These 16 tracks hint at Tim Fite’s abundance of creativity, and quickly its unconventional nature becomes apparent. Fite’s talk/sing vocal style gives a staccato feel to the compositions. It’s a curious modern mix of punk, vaudeville, and country western heard through a spoken word filter.
That complicated set up demands attention much of the time. While there are intriguing bouts of word play throughout the record like the excellent “Big Mistake,” it’s hard to walk away feeling possessed of any greater understanding of what Fite was aiming for with the words he chose.
Halfway through the record, his monotone singing voice starts to wear thin, only to win a slight reprieve a few tracks later with the subtle overdubbed harmonies on “Harriet Tubman.” The remaining tracks see the record coming to a laborious end. Fite is an intriguing songwriter, but brevity as well as less reliance on opaque lyricism would have done him well.
Keep Your Eyes Ahead sounds like the background music to your new favorite sitcom. Songs like “Can’t Say No” will get you on your feet, while songs like “No Regrets” will make you stop to think about every relationship you’ve ever had. “Shed Your Love”–which acts like a dividing line in the center of the album–may in fact be the best ballad written in the last 10 years. The electronic feeling of their earlier work is most present on “You Can Come to Me,” but instead of the usual synth action powerhouse, it works itself into the song like the newest found instrument. The band’s mellower sound on this album is due in part to singer Brandon Summers re-learning to sing after damaging his voice, however the album still stands brilliant on it’s own.