Hearts of Palm UK, The Builders and the Butchers, The Helio Sequence: Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA – 2/26/08

A recent triple-bill at LA’s Spaceland showed three different bands in a similar orbit, with locals Hearts of Palm UK opening for Portland’s The Builders and the Butchers and the The Helio SequenceHearts of Palm UK are heading down a promising path: a female duo comprised of Erica Elektra and Ambi D, the two create upbeat indie-electro pop that does a great job – particularly for such a young band – of drawing the listener in, with melodies occasionally hinting at the beauty of The Postal Service.  Eric Elektra owns the stage, with a beautiful voice and solid guitar/keyboard work.  If this reviewer were to complain, it would be at the disparity of the duo: Ambi D could do far more to share the spotlight.  She is a solid musical complement to Erica Elektra, but would do well to engage more with the audience, making the group a bit more multidimensional. 

Mid-liners The Builders and the Butchers were promising – interesting instrumentation (including banjo and mandolin), energetic execution (the dual drummers alone are worth watching).  Indeed, at first blush, the group reminded this author of The Decembrists; however, about halfway their set, well, they simply didn’t remain engaging for this author. 

Finally, headliners The Helio Sequence rock.  Seriously.  The duo, composed of Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel, puts on the most engaging show this writer has seen in some time.  Weikel is a flurry of rhythmically-charged motion, his whole body convulsing with his intriguing cadences.  Similarly, Summers owns the stage with beautiful vocals, intriguing lyrics, and an equally, if completely different, stage presence.  Indeed, it could be said that the live translation of their ecstatically exuberant brand of music, teasing at times folks, indie, electronica, and pure rock, is a happy complement to their recordings.

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