(An all new album to mark the band's 30th year.) CLEAR BLUE SKY - MIRROR OF THE STARS (Hi-Note/Aftermath AFT1010) Cyberhome: Hi-Note Music Sneak-a-peak, insider info: http://www.hi-note.com/newreleases.htm(this url may die soon) Eclectic Earwig Reviews sees many, many CDs come its way for review. The really big surprise recently was CLEAR BLUE SKY's newest release; MIRROR OF THE STARS! The in-your-face, guitar work by John Simms is superb, tight chops abound, song compositions are strong, engaging, a myriad of multi-faceted, ever-evolving excursions into spaced-rock, psychedelic-boogie jams, with strong vocals and harmonies, (sounding very Geddy Lee). Expect strong synths, great guitar effects/ guitar-synth'ed(?) and a generally fun ride all the way through. This is axe-driven and very well-done progressive, psych, trippy rock. Imagine Rush meets Steve Hillage meets Blue Oyster Cult meets Darryl Dobson and add a dash of Gongish-Ozrics 'weird-soup spice' for atmosphere. Good job CBS! Strongly recommended, progressive rock music. Footnote: CD packaging's art layout is "not-the-most-high-end" design I have ever seen and is therefore initially deceiving as to the sonic gems locked in that rainbow disc . . . ~ John W. Patterson, Editor of EER-MUSIC.com
Artist: Clear Blue Sky Title: Clear Blue Sky (1970/2003) Genre: Rock/Progressive, Hard Format: 180-Gram Vinyl LP Label: Vertigo/Akarma Records-www.cometrecords.com Website: www.hinotemusic.com/cbs Clear Blue Sky was a power progressive-rock trio from Acton, West London. Considered a semi- pro band when Patrick Campbell-Lyons of Nirvana discovered them, they proved at their tender age(s) of 18 years they could play like seasoned pros on their self-titled Clear Blue Sky album. With the hundreds reissued vinyl LP’s I have covered since 2000, this is one of the few groups that are still active with their own website. I really like the energy and straight ahead rock sound they had. For a trio they were very powerful. After I heard the first song, an instrumental that runs nine and half minutes, I knew that this band had what it took to please these fussy ears. I noticed at the end of the last track on side two there was a very subtle flute playing before the song closed out, so they were heading into a much more complex territory before they ever got out of the studio. Just to clarify something to the entire group progressive rock enthusiast reading this review, today this band would probably fall into the hard rock or metal-prog category, in 1970 they were a prog- rock trio. Another interesting note is that the cover of their first album featured one of the very first cover designs by artist Roger Dean. This a gatefold LP that opens to a picture of what looks like a Mech Warrior (Microsoft game) with a character driving the machine that you would see on the old cartoon Space Ghost (ever watch cartoon network?). They are keeping the music alive today so check out their website, their entire catalog is available for purchase right off the site. ©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck July 6, 2003 Side One Journey To The Inside Of The Sun (A) Sweet Leaf (9.30) (B) The Rocket Ride (5.57) (C) I'm Comin' Home (3.05) Side Two You Mystify (7.45) Tool Of My Trade (4.50) My Heaven (5.00) Birdcatcher (4.10) Rating- 4 of 5 stars Performers: John Simms: guitar, lead vocals Ken White: drums Mark Sheather: bass
Clear Blue Sky, Live and Unreleased (Hi-Note/Aftermath AFT1009) Cyberhome: Hi-Note Music As people have said before, sometimes there's a reason why bands leave tracks unreleased. Actually, I doubt that this release is particularly different from the rest Clear Blue Sky's output, but I may underestimate them. Anyway, about the disc itself - this CD consists of live and unreleased pieces by blues-rock group Clear Blue Sky. Although I can't seem to find a date anywhere on the album, I can pretty confidently place this as coming from the late-sixties / early-seventies. CBS instrumentation, unsurprisingly, is made up of guitar, bass, and drums, played by John Simms (who also does the vocals), Mark Sheather, and Ken White, respectively. Their repretoire consists mainly of bluesy rock songs with an emphasis on vocals. To be honest, there's not a lot for me to recommend on this disc. For one, the sound quality is pretty bad - apparently in mono, as far as I can tell. This may actually hide some of the bands deficiencies, because when all the instruments are playing together it often sounds more like an indiscernable, muddied mess unless one listens carefully, and thus discovers that often there's some pretty sloppy playing in the midst of it. Although sloppiness to a degree can add a bit of charm to bands of this type, it doesn't seem to work the same for CBS. Simms vocals seem to be the most confident part of the band, but I personally can't stand his style, which admittedly isn't particularly different than most hard-rock or blues-rock groups. Although never laughably bad, the songs themselves never really do anything for me - there's not a single memorable riff, melody, or anything of the sort that happens here, and it seems like the band is trying create at least some. Obviously, I can't really recommend this disc, but readers who really enjoy this style may be better served by a second opinion. ~Jon Dharma~
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