CRACK THE SKY
Power pop meets prog with Baltimore’s veterans.
Much has been made of Steven Wilson’s recent diversion into progressive pop on To The Bone, but Baltimore’s veterans Crack The Sky have been exploring the space between pop and prog for decades. The title track for Living In Reverse boasts a catchy 60s power pop hook and jangly guitars reminiscent of XTC. There’s strong guitar work from Rick Witkowski and Bobby Hird, with some fierce soloing in Raining Rain and
Hit. At times they tap into the sound of the more daring bands of the 80s New Wave, particularly in Jacket and I’m On The Radio, Mom, the latter of which recalls The Tubes. The cynical tone of Home Tonight suggests Warren Zevon casting his withering gaze over humanity’s foibles. John Palumbo’s dry vocal style occasionally brings to mind Peter Gabriel – I’m A Good Man being a good case in point. The album is strongest when the band embrace their pop sensibilities, which seems to produce their most infectious material. When they push the boat a little further out, as on Talk Talk or Big Dipper, they can wind up rowing in circles. But 43 years after their debut album, Crack The Sky are still blessed with energy and ideas.