Automatic Minds – Background Magazine

Lithuanian four piece formation The Skys was founded in 1995, and turned into a leading Art rock band in their country during the years. The band has released a series of productions: the cassettes Civilized in 1997 and Dreams (EP) in 1999, and the CD’s Postmodern Game (2004), Colours Of The Desert (2011, see review), Journey Through The Skies (2014, see review) and recently Automatic Minds (2019). In 2008 I witnessed The Skys on the legendary annual Dutch Progfarm festival, I remember that the band made friends with its tasteful and melodic prog.

More than a decade later I listen to The Skys again, and conclude that most of the nine compositions evoke the realm of Neo-prog, embellished with wonderful electric guitar work (lots of moving solos with howling runs), pleasant English vocals (male and female), flashy synthesizer flights and flowing shifting moods (between dreamy and bombastic outbursts). Interesting is also the wide range of contributions from guest musicians on guitars (including Snowy White), saxophones and even flamenco guitar (as an aficionado I love this unique sound in the alternating title track, strongly contrasting with a heavy guitar). More adventurous is the composition Dry Water: first dreamy in a bit ominous atmosphere featuring male and female vocals, then catchy rock guitar riffs, emotional female cries and a sultry keyboard sound, very compelling. The song Communication reminds me of Eighties Yes with a catchy beat and swinging rhythm, a heavy guitar solo and vocal harmonies. My highlight is the epic composition. It starts with soaring keyboards and sparkling piano. Then dreamy and spacey guitar joins, followed by a bombastic outburst with powerful female vocals, rock guitar, sumptuous keyboards, topped with male and female vocals. Halfway a compelling bombastic sound with strong female vocals (reminding me of Grace Slick), an exciting moving guitar solo and soaring keyboards, what an intense bombastic climate, wow.

To me this new album sounds a very pleasant effort, Neo-prog oriented and featuring fine musical ideas.

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)