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Clear Blue Sky

Clear Blue Sky

Review by Gary Hill
I doubt you've ever heard a progressive rock album quite like this one. And, yes, I will clearly say that it's prog rock. That said, there is definitely a garage rock raw texture here. It shares a lot of territory with bands like Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath, too. However, if I had one reference point to reference, it would probably be Flash. The songs in many cases make me think of that band, Peter Banks' outfit after Yes. It's not as polished as Flash, and the vocals are very different, but there are definite parallels to me. This is a reissue of an album from 1970, and it feels like a product of that era, but has plenty to make it worthwhile today.
Track by Track Review
Journey to the Inside of the Sun: Sweet Leaf

This instrumental comes in with a sound that's part Blue Cheer and part Black Sabbath. As the guitar begins to solo it has more of a prog meets psychedelic vibe. This is garagey, but so cool. It drops to a mellower part around the minute and a half mark that's full on early prog with psychedelia and space rock built into it. They bring it back out from there into a raw and smoking hot jam. They turn out around the four minute mark into this weird fuzz driven bit that feels like something bad has happened to the master tape. From there, though, we're back into something a bit like early heavy metal. More of a proggy jam emerges from that and takes the song to its closing.

Journey to the Inside of the Sun: The Rocket Ride
I absolutely love the hard rocking riff that opens this thing. There is a weird shift that seems incredibly abrupt. They drop it down, and the vocals join. There is a psychedelic rock vibe here, but it also makes me think of the band Flash to a large degree. As they power out from there that's even more apparent. In fact, if you combine Flash (Peter Banks' band after Yes) with something like Status Quo, you'd be really close to this. They take us on an interesting ride after the powered up vocal section. Again I'm reminded quite a bit of Flash, but there are definitely more pure hard rock sounds in the mix, too. There are definitely some interesting changes here. I like the more melodic rock based movement later in the track as an example.
Journey to the Inside of the Sun: I'm Comin' Home

While the basis of this is a standard hard rocking riff, the cut has enough changes built into it (and a weird bit that feels like synthesizer)  to make it land under a prog heading. This is noisy, but yet catchy and quite cool.

You Mystify

There is definitely a healthy helping of old school heavy metal in this thing.  Yet, it also has a lot of prog and psychedelia built into its structure, too. A fast paced jam later starts in psychedelic territory before working into more full on prog. It has some weird elements at play at times. A more metallic movement takes it around the five minute mark, but it gets to cool spacey psychedelic prog territory from there.

Tool of My Trade
This isn't a huge change. It's more mainstream in a lot of ways. Again, it reminds me of Flash a bit. They work through a number of changes over the course of the cut.
My Heaven
I really like the balance between the mellower movements and more rocking ones on this song. This cut is definitely a prog rock styled piece. It has some interesting instrumental work on some of the mellower instrumental sections.
Birdcatcher
This powerhouse jam is one of the harder rocking tunes here. The flute solo later (along with much of the general song structure) makes me think of Jethro Tull a bit. It drops down to a weird little percussion and flute section mid-track. Bits of echoey guitar bring some psychedelia to that. The bass heralds a return to more of a rocking mode. The ending on this is abrupt, almost like they ran out of tape while recording it.
 
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