Crack The Sky - "Cut" CD Review (Aluminum Cat Recordings) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crack The Sky - "Cut" CD Review (Aluminum Cat Recordings)

Crack The Sky - 'Cut' CD Review (Aluminum Cat Recordings)After spending my youth in Baltimore, I’m pleasantly shocked to see some of the long out-of-print discs from Baltimore hometown heroes Crack the Sky back in print.

As most people outside of the Mid-Atlantic never heard of the band, Crack the Sky were Baltimore transplants that played “thinking man’s” progressive rock and the band’s debut album (1975) was picked as "debut album of the year" by Rolling Stone. Crack the Sky always put on a strong live show and often blew away the bands that they were opening for (and this list includes Yes, Styx and ELO). Unfortunately, the band was never quite able to turn the corner and some of this was due to poor label support, frequent breakups and (in later days) recording for impossible-to-find micro-labels. After releasing (what-should-have-been-a-breakthrough-album) From the Greenhouse in 1989, the band broke up again in 1990. After an eight year absence, principal songwriter / vocalist John Palumbo regrouped an early 80’s lineup of Crack the Sky and released Cut in 1998.

Cut is an eclectic release (but, then again, so is Crack the Sky) that shows the band still having a relevant voice in the music scene, both then and now. John Palumbo and crew have a slighter harder edge this time out and, while Palumbo never fully departs from his Roger Waters meets Steely Dan muse, the band’s four guitar attack give a number of these songs more teeth than the atmospheric From the Greenhouse. Interestingly enough, it sounds like some of Baltimore’s urban soul has made its way into CtS’ music as Cary Ziegler (bass) plays some slow-burning funk rhythms which are complemented by John Tracey’s drumming.

There is more than enough of the classic Crack sound on this disc which includes a harder edged remake of “We Want Mine” (originally from 1976’s Animal Notes), “Cut (the sequel)” which sounds like a close cousin to 1980's "Hot Razors in My Heart", “The Art of Wondering” which touches on all the elements that made CtS great and a John Lennon style reflective ballad “God”. On the eclectic side, there is a rap/funk tune (sung by rapper H-1) about a post-downsizing shooting rage (“Hey Earl”) and a shuffling bar-room delta blues number (“Little Stinky”).

Crack the Sky is still going strong and released their fourteenth disc, Machine, last year (see review) and the band also posted demos from this disc as a free download.

Crack the Sky