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The Skys

Colors of the Desert

Review by Gary Hill

While the references seem to run the gamut between Pink Floyd, Nektar, Yes, Hawkwind and more AOR oriented varieties, the style of prog that The Skys play is modern with a lot of classic elements in place. It’s a strong disc that should please both old-school and newer progressive rock fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Colors of the Desert

Keyboards open this. The bass guitar joins building anticipation. Then it works out to a faster paced keyboard section to continue. That gives way to a quick acoustic guitar section and they take it to a more full band arrangement from there as this keeps building. It launches out to some killer classic progressive rock sounds after that. The vocals come in over the top of that backdrop. There’s a short adventurous section and then it works to something like Nektar. They take it to a progressive rock meets epic metal ballad treatment from there. It’s one change after another as this piece evolves. A quick bit of metallic guitar gives way to a killer keyboard solo and then a fast paced progressive rock jam for the next vocal section. A hard rocking, almost David Gilmour-like guitar solo comes across later lending a bit of a Pink Floyd air to the proceedings. This is one exceptionally dynamic and powerful piece of music. That much is certain.

Is this the Way?
There’s a short mellow section and then it works out to a cool harder rocking movement. This is definitely classic progressive rock, but with a modern intensity brought to the table. The vocal arrangement is exceptional, but the music still doesn’t take a back seat. That’s how powerful this is. Although it’s not extremely long, it has some noteworthy guitar soloing and keyboard showings.
I... He...
Starting mellow, this turns to powerful hard edged progressive rock from there. A number of changes and alterations ensue. Female vocals paired with this particular musical flavor beg comparisons to Magenta. The changes and alterations continue on this powerful number. There’s even a short jaunt into world music.
Walking Alone
Keyboard sounds bring this in with an atmospheric sound and it builds gradually out from there. The cut just keeps shifting and changing with different sounds leaning in different directions as it continues. The vocal remind me a bit of Hawkwind, but the music at different points feels like Pink Floyd or Yes or Nektar.
When the Western Wind Blows

While this starts in similar fashion as a lot of the other music here, with mellow sounds, the motif that emerges is among the most straightforward rock here. Still, there is a bit of a Pink Floyd like element here. It’s kind of cool that they put this tune into the mix, allowing an opportunity for grounding. A saxophone solo reinforces that Pink Floyd comparison.

Calling Out Your Name
With an opening section that’s more AOR rock oriented, this has a bit of a Hawkwind vibe as the vocals enter. While this track is one of the least dynamic pieces on show, there’s plenty of progressive rock in the mix. I love some of the keyboard tones and other elements here. The extended instrumental section also includes some tasty bits of funky guitar and some real drama. Around the five minute mark there’s a shift to some seriously powerful and beautiful symphonic prog. A later section includes some soulful vocals that again bring comparisons to Pink Floyd.
The Pyramid
The keyboard sounds that open this are dramatic and powerful and rather inspired by Middle Eastern tones. It grows gradually out from there. Later it powers up and the fires out into a fast paced jam that teeters back and forth and around. There is some killer guitar soloing later. Further down the road we’re treated to a melodic vocal segment that’s noteworthy. That gives way to a similarly melodic instrumental movement that’s pretty and potent.
Lethal Kiss
Acoustic guitar that calls to mind Steve Howe opens this. It moves out melodically from there building very gradually. As it continues the vocals are sort of distant and disconnected. The music becomes rather symphonic. A turn later brings back those comparisons to Pink Floyd. While they definitely build upon that theme, a later section that’s dominated by female non-lyrical vocals has a definite world music element to it.
What If

Here’s an energetic, but considerably melodic tune that seems a satisfying direction to take the sound and bring it back to Earth. This is somewhat Nektar like at times, but also connected to Pink Floyd at other times. Still, it’s quite original.

 
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