CRACK THE SKY

Power pop meets prog with Bal­ti­more’s vet­er­ans.

Prog - - The Musical Box - DW

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.

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