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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Crack the Sky

Tribes

Review by Gary Hill

Crack the Sky is a progressive rock band, but their brand of prog is not what you might expect. This is quirky, hard-edged and unusual. Yet, it's also very diverse and manages to be catchy. There are quite a few reference points along the road including King Crimson, Frank Zappa and King's X. The end result is all Crack the Sky and all effective. A lot of it quite topical, too.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Tribes
Drums bring this into being, and the cut drives out with an edgy rocking groove from there. This grows into quite an intriguing hard rock tune.
Another Civil War
This song is very much a statement about our current state of affairs. Musically there are some intriguing angles in the mix. I can make out moments where some of the instruments bring hints of country music. Overall, this is all about the up-tempo progressive rock. There are also some hints of world music in the mix at times. This is powerful and dramatic and leans toward psychedelia in some ways, too. There are some bits of patriotic music here, too. That's particularly true at the end of the piece.
Dear Leaders
A bit more on the straight-forward side of the equation, there is some space rock built into this one. It also has things like psychedelia and even power pop in the mix. There are some real dreamy elements here.
Blowing Up Detroit
A helicopter is heard as this song gets underway. The tune drives out from there rocking with a lot of intensity. It has AOR prog shifts and turns and some hints of space rock in the mix.
Quick
Classical instrumentation and musical concepts drive this number on the extended introduction. It shift from there to a intermittently rocking section that has a lot of drama and sense of impending excitement built into it. The vocals come in over that. The tune eventually resolves out to more of an AOR prog meets Beatles-like hook element for the chorus. The tune continues by expanding upon the earlier movement. The number continues to evolve from there with some intriguing call backs and expansion of themes. I dig a rocking movement later that features some guitar driven stuff that makes me think of a proggier Blue Öyster Cult. That extended instrumental movement really gets involved and intense as it continues. The classical tones that started it return at the end after a short reprise of the chorus.
Another Beautiful Day
There is a pop rock edge and plenty of psychedelia in the mix here. A bouncy and fun number, this makes me think of King's X a little.
All My Innocence
Somehow this makes me think of Joe Walsh a little. There are definite psychedelic edges to this and a lot more. I can make out plenty of classic rock texture. Perhaps it's not the proggiest thing here, but it is very effective and has enough prog to keep it interesting.
Drinking Myself Sober
With both an edgy rocking riff and some classic pop rock hooks, this song has a real sense of contrast to it. It's fun, but also meaty.
Stranger In A Strange Land
This is a quirky, yet also catchy tune. It's a driving rocker with plenty of alternative rock and edgy prog in the mix. I love the guitar fills on the tune.
We Don't Know
The chorus hook on this is so catchy. I love the slide guitar on the number, too. This has a mainstream rock meets AOR prog angle at play. This is all class.
Alligator Man
The rhythm section starts this cut. It works out to a funky kind of thing that makes me think of what you might get if Frank Zappa worked with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a rocking and creative number.
Boom Boom
There are hints of things in this like modern King Crimson. The song has a real "King" thing going for it, though, because the other main thing I hear on it is a King's X reference. This is a quirky and potent rocker with plenty of modern prog in the mix.
The Lost Boys
The closer is a lot of fun. It has funk and jazz in the mix. The organ lends a cool retro edge. The horns are a great addition, as well. This is just an entertaining groove. 
 
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