Best Of The Batch: The April Skies
How It All Played Out
Artist: The April Skies
Title: How It All Played Out
Label: Wiab Records
The first time I heard The April Skies a few years ago on The Breathe EP , I felt…now there was an indie band out there doing their own thing yet using all of their influences to their advantage instead of to their detriment. Then on Flood they reached a level that I knew they were very capable of. Ok, so far no disappointments.
Listeners and media alike remember the bands that find a way to make their mark in your mind’s eye. This is why The April Skies are instantly recognizable to me. I do hundreds of reviews every year and if I listen to a band that has the magic going for them in their sound, I always remember them regardless of how long it was when I did a review (it has been nearly three years since the last release). That is how it works when you buy anything and come back for more right? The same principal applies to music.
Well, I am ready for a second helping of this great band from Hershey, Pennsylvania. How It All Played Out starts with “X” and kicks it into high gear, from that point on I knew straight away that this was going to be another fun listen for me. It does not take long for the music to become your friend. The Springsteen-like vocals of Jake Crawford, and the echoing rhythmic guitars he provides with Andy Book, latch on to you like a cat trying to get away from a veterinarian - you know, when it jumps on your back and digs its claws in. I know that does not sound like a real appealing description, but trust me, it is only to help you understand what this music will do for you once you hear it, and it is all good.
“Shots” keeps up the momentum with the wall of guitars and thumping rhythm section of Jason Leidich (bass) and Marko Trtico (drums) then “Amnesia” cranks it down a few notches showing the lighter gentler side of this band. No need for concern for those who like to rock, as “Grace” picks it right back up with an interesting vocal take to match the jangling guitars and that echoplex effect that they use so well, almost as if the vocals are coming from the same power line as the guitar. It is a very cool end product.
“Pure” is a step away from the norm, and somewhat surprising, actually. It is an electronic ambient instrumental that serves (unintentionally, I believe) as an intro to the emotional and mellow “Always Never Finished.” The lyrics are what really grab you in this track, and the music effectively sets the stage for the life of an individual to unfold before your ears. As the song progresses, the music follows in the steps of that person with a more upbeat rhythm and acoustic strumming, continually building the story and then reverting back to reflective lyrics and more music to fit the ever-changing mood. The remaining tracks give you more of the same, yet more great sounds to tuck away into your cranium for future access.
This exceptional music can give you goose bumps, make you feel good, and push you to think about what all the vocal workouts are about, and that is all any artist could possibly hope to accomplish. If at least 7 out of 10 listeners hear things this way, then your CD is success.
There is a lot in every track by The April Skies and it takes plenty of good music to make sure you hear the message coming delivered via the sounds and words. I have to say in closing that the wait was worth it, this is a fine album and yet another rung of the ladder that this band has put behind them on their way to the being one of the top indie bands making music today.
1. X (4:27)
1. 2. Shots (3:52)
2. 3. Amnesia (3:53)
3. 4. Grace (3:49)
4. 5. Pure (2:35)
5. 6. Always Never Finished (8:14)
6. 7. My Love Is In This House (5:30)
7. 8. The Weight (4:28)
9. Unstoppable (4:55)
Jake Crawford-vocals and guitar
Mark Higgins-keyboard & vocals
Cary T. Brown-backing vocals
Chris “Junior” Gunnell-guitars
Jeff Mowery-bass. Guitar, cello
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