The Skys – COLOURS OF THE DESERT

This is the age of prog again. It’s everywhere; in maths rock; in the fiddly bits appended to post-hardcore; but mostly in just straight prog (and we count Muse in that clan). The Skys have the advantage of being Lithuanian, meaning they don’t have to deal with the British worries about not being cool, dealing with hipster chic or just plain over-awareness of irony. The Skys are happy to prog-out to the maximum and, if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it large – such is the nature of the prog beast. Hence sub-Hipgnosis sleve, lyrics about man’s inhumanity to man and images of time and timelessness, through-composition, female backing chorus and lengthy guitar solos.

Remove all self-consciousness (I wouldn’t want to listen to this publicly…) and it is rather splendidly enjoyable. The real boosts are the very Floydian aspects:
Pink Floyd sleeve: a rose in a desert.
Howling Fender Stratocaster solos from Dave Kilminster (Roger Water’s band) and the band themselves in a similar style.
Judicious use of sax.
Waters-style use of women’s backing vocals.

The whole is self-important, fiddly and noodley but with a sweeping sense of scale often enough and a rack of catchy melodies. It makes for a fabulously silly and indulgent hour of riffing, air-punching and over-serious guitar faces. Try not to read the lyric sheet or look at the inner booklet pics and you’re in for a treat. Colours Of The Desert and When The Western Wind Blows are two standout tracks, thanks to the distinctive Gilmour-esque guitar of Dave Kilminster but the rest doesn’t disappoint and long guitar lines abound, full of soul and technique. I really enjoyed it. Leave your sense of irony at the door.

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