November 6, 2014 These Raven Skies – These Raven Skies (Album Review)
Starting out as Dreams of Reason, the Canadian band now known as These Raven Skies sat down to write the follow-up album to Radically Poetic. They realized that the new musical direction they were taking would require a new identity. Made up of Chris Perkins (Vocals), Alex Whitcombe (Guitar), Trevor Landmark (Bass), and Shand Munro (Drums); Jeff Martin from The Tea Party became the fifth hidden member, co-writing and producing the new album released on their own label, Blackstream Records. This led to the band uprooting themselves from Calgary to the Gold Coast Australia in order to work on the album, which gave them the chance to break free from their normal influences and go down a different musical path while retaining the classic Rock hooks only with added sitar and tabla. The result was something more akin to their own personal tastes in their newest self-titled album released in July 2014.
A spaced out chant leads into the first track, the very multi-cultured, hippy dream, eastern-influenced “Magick Waters” which is a strange and hypnotic song with a Rock heart and a 1970s’ mind. “No Need to Worry” is a drinking band having fun type of song, with cool vibes and clean riffs; it also features Jeff Martin on slide guitar. Next, “The Garden” is very Woodstock, Led Zeppelin, Hippy-trance that is weird and enchanting with strange rhythms and a bit trippy at times while almost spiritual at others. This is followed by “Are We Having Fun” which possesses a darker, seedier feel to it with a strange vocal style that really works. The funkier “Come Sit Next To Me,” has more of a Country/Blues twang to it and a lighter, sunnier disposition. With “Emily & Alick” the band take a more Folk-like approach with a more storytelling style, while “Open Road” is another hippie-vibe, acoustic and summery track with that wanderlust that drives bands to tour; something most bands can relate to. The very short track “Truth Be Told” deals with staying true to yourself, while “The Hooker” was apparently the result of Perkins wanting to write about an urban succubus and what he eventually came up with was this song about a demented sociopathic who is obsessed with prostitutes. The track certainly is lively, full of imagery, and is a demonic way to end the album.
What These Raven Skies end up with is a sort of retro, hippyish, experimental album that is both weird and wonderful. By removing the rules of we have to sound this way, they have given themselves the freedom to create and be more imaginative in their style. This is refreshing and yet old-fashioned, as that is exactly what musicians were doing at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s. Certainly something that will engage people’s attention and has a feel good factor, These Raven Skies is not an average Rock album. CrypticRock give this album 4 out of 5 stars.