The Rocktologist

The Skys is a band from Lithuania which began its musical journey in 1995. They put out a couple of efforts in the 1990s, but their first real full-length recording came in 2004, with the album Post-Modern Game. Led by guitarist and vocalist Jonas Čiurlionis, it took them 7 years to record a follow-up, but it was worth the wait. Colours of the Desert really does paint quite an appealing picture. You could say that The Skys inhabit a similar kind of musical space as Pink Floyd, appealing to both prog fans and others. And indeed, the music often sounds similar to Pink Floyd, with sensual guitar solos and atmospheric keyboards galore. Even some of the saxophone work seems to work in the same way as on Dark Side of the Moon. But there also other sides to The Skys. One side sees them tackle some heavy neo progressive rock, which is mostly down to the keyboard sound, handled more than competently by Bozena Buinicka (I really can’t say what the measure of John Young’s involvement was). Another facet involves a more straightforward rock, particularly on a few shorter tracks. Some progressive fans may be snide about it, but The Skys really do handle this with the utmost care. Not only does the album sound really professional, but you also feel like the inspiration well was really full for this one. With an album title like Colours of the Desert, it would also hardly be fitting if the band didn’t sprinkle a few Eastern flourishes here and there. But as I said, everything they do, they do really well. I have actually grown pretty weary of reviewing albums with adequate vocalists (at best) and after seeing that most of the tracks here are vocally oriented, I was fearing the worst. The very first moments put my mind at ease, though, as both Jonas and Bozena provide for a stunning listening experience, with gorgeous backing vocals to boot. As you see from the guest list for the album, there was no shortage of talent lending a hand here. But I’m wary when bands use so many flashy names to make an impact. No need to worry, though, as this still feels very much like a group effort and not a marketing ploy and John Young produced the album as well. Colours of the Desert isn’t really making anyone’s list of best albums of 2011, either in the field of progressive rock or plain old rock. This is a great shame because the album has pretty much everything you would want in rock music – great riffs, soaring solos (guitars, keyboards and saxophone), dramatic twists, some more intricate developments (for your annoying progressive rock fan) and a couple of vocalists who know how to carry the song to a higher level. 8.5 out of 10.