Sometimes simplicity is best, it leaves the songs to stand alone with nowhere to hide, to breathe, and it leaves the interpretation open. As Steve Marriott used to say if you can move someone with just a voice and guitar you know you have a great song, well its not quite that stripped back , but you get the idea.
Perfect Blue Sky remind me of simpler times and this their second album is my first acquaintance with the band and their music. There’s a warmth about this album that you don’t get too often these days as its usually hidden beneath the overproduction and unnecessary sheen. These songs breathe, they have something to say and their relative brevity means if one doesn’t grab you then they’re quite happy to oblige with another tune.
In truth though I didn’t really find anything to dislike about this collection; sure part of you wonders what the songs would be like fully blown out, orchestrated and polished to perfection but I suspect that both misses the point and the ethos of the band. Tracks like ‘Give You My Love’ and ‘Astronaut’ that open even have titles that suggest the hope and wonder of the 60’s and early 70’s – times when your lives were you own and people more often than computer screens stared back at our faces.
Think Green era Fleetwood Mac, acoustic Zeppelin, add a little of the San Francisco sound of the sixties and a West Coast ease and poise and you have the essence of this album. Throw in a little nod of the head to Pink Floyd on tracks like ‘Silverstream’ and you have something you really want to listen to.
Elsewhere there are plenty of cool musical movements from the strummed simplicity of the groovy ‘Get Lost, Get Found’ and the proto Lenny Kravitz vibe of ‘Fiction Man’ or the 70’s stylings of the wonderful ‘Wind’s Ransom’.
The remainder of the album ain’t bad at all either: ‘Scrapbook’ is gentle and breezy, ‘Sunoir’ starts out a Capella and ends up sounding like vintage Heart (and very good it is too), ‘Wasteland’ adds some 60’s psychedelic Californiaisms (yep made that word up); and ‘Stay With the Light’ adds a little sadness amidst the deep lyrics and acoustic meanderings.
Some versions of the album also add two bonus tracks the acoustic ramble that is ‘Portrait of Love’ (featuring Jerry Donahue) and 60’s trip of ‘Head in the Clouds’ (featuring Dave Getz).
Great to listen to and highly recommended if you’re looking for something laid back, mellow and engaging. More please.