Album review: THE SKYS – Journey Through The Skies

THE SKYS - Journey Through The Skies

Self-released  [Release date: 06.11.15]

Following up The Skys’ 2012 release ‘Colours Of The Desert’ (which was excellent – with a few caveats), Lithuania’s finest return with ‘Journey Through The Skies’ which, in the same way as ‘Colours’, is another tremendous effort – but…

In my review of ‘Colours’ I outlined my misgivings regarding the religious content – not only my own opinions about religion in rock music, but also the fact that said content almost shunts the music into a siding marked ‘niche market’.

The good news with ‘Journey Through The Skies’ is that the religious content is almost negligible – the bad news, however, is that another problem has pushed itself to the fore, which I fear, if not addressed, could well derail the whole project.

And this problem lies with the lyrics/vocals.

Now in progressive rock we’re all used to wacky, off-kilter lyrics and so long as they’re well sung it’s accepted as part of the wonderful genre of prog – ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ anyone?

The problem here is that not only are many of the lyrics somewhat clicheed, but still worse, are mostly part-spoken in a heavy Eastern European accent making the listener wonder whether they are being sold car insurance.

This is a great shame as the music is absolutely magnificent throughout and the band have called upon a number of prog/rock luminaries to add their skills to proceedings – so the likes of Snowy White (guitar), Rob Townsend (sax) and Anne-Marie Helder (backing vox) all enhance the tracks on which they appear.

Nowhere is this paradox more clear than on ‘Should Stop Now’ where semi-spoken lyrics such as “children are selling drugs on the street – they should stop now”, and “a boy is killing people in a war – he should stop now” are juxtaposed with a storming solo from White and some very tasty sax from Townsend.

Things improve when keyboard player Bozena Buinicka takes over on lead vocals as on album closer ‘Love Of Life’ which sounds much more like it.

At their best The Skys sound like ‘Animals’ era Pink Floyd (check out ‘Broken Sounds Of Truth’ for example) and most of the instrumentation is first-rate progressive rock of the highest order with Jonas Ciurlionis’ soaring guitar very much to the fore, but unless the issues of vocals/lyrics are addressed I fear the bargain bin of despair beckons – and the music deserves a much better fate.

***** (for the music)     * (for the lyrics/vocals)

Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, third Sunday of the month at 17:00. Expect some prog.

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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