Skye Klad’s second album is marked by changes in lineup and attitude. Guitarist Jason Kesselring now assumes the duties of lead singer, Adam Backstrom having left the building. Those who found the vocals too muddy on the first album will be horrified to hear that the new singer is even less articulate. On the positive side, Ousia’s Dave Onnen lays down his thundering bass riffs in addition to producing the album. Backstrom’s Jim Morrison-esque delivery empowered the group’s songs with a certain pop appeal. Ironically, with him out of the picture, Skye Klad has decided to focus on songwriting, leaving spacy jamming to their live sets only. II ranks up 17 songs, mostly in the two- to four-minute range. Exit the mind-bending guitar pyrotechnics and experimental leanings. Each song is precise and heavy, with crunchy guitar riffs and low, approximate lead vocals that defuse some of its possible charge. “Reign Song” and “Little Nemo” work out very nicely. “Lightbringer6” and “Sunwheel” could belong to almost any semi-professional American space rock outfit. The interesting quirks are found elsewhere, in the half-acoustic “Neechmit,” in the heavy-folk “Skye Boat,” or the truly unbelievable rendition of the Irving Berlin standard “Blue Skies” (come on, just try to imagine that!). The promises found on the first album (the avant edge) have disappeared in the process of the band’s streamlining and mainstreaming. As a result, II is a decent album that lacks personality.
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