Negotiations (Bonus Track Version)

Negotiations (Bonus Track Version)

The Helio Sequence's fifth album follows yet more trouble. Previous years saw singer Brandon Summers damage his vocal cords on tour; this time, the band's practice space and studio flooded while it was on tour, taking out some gear and forcing the Portland-based duo to find the cavernous industrial building where it pressed Negotiations into service. The Helio Sequence has always had anthemic tendencies, preferring reverb and murky productions over clean, concise lines. Here, the arena-ready grandiosity of "Downward Spiral" is both deeply pained and romantic. It's a sound U2 wouldn't mind claiming for its own, should Bono retire and a more modest frontman take his job. "The Measure" adds a beautiful, forlorn melody. "December" and the title track strip the sound down to a less frenetic level until it's ghostly pop music.

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