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Clear Blue Sky - Clear Blue Sky CD (album) cover

CLEAR BLUE SKY

Clear Blue Sky

 

Heavy Prog

3.31 | 47 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Recorded by a guitar/bass/drums trio when they were just teenagers, UK band Clear Blue Sky's self-titled debut from 1970 is a bluesy and fuzzy psychedelic shred-fest, with heavy rock songs stretched out by way of jamming soloing and punchy instrumental spurts. Reminding in its electric-guitar dominated parts of everything from Cream, Jimi Hendrix and High Tide, the occasional presence of flute takes it into Jethro Tull and Skin Alley territory, and vocally it calls to the mind Budgie and the early Rush albums.

Those prog fans getting excited at the prospect of an eighteen-minute side-long piece (and one given a title like `Journey to the Inside of the Sun' - trippy, man!) - lower expectations immediately! It's really three unrelated tracks, if still very cool and full of killer playing with energy to spare. Instrumental `Sweet Leaf' sets much of a template for the LP, full of John Simms' muscular electric guitar slinging laced with a molten rocking bluesy swagger, Mark Sheather's thick bass murmurings and Ken White's barrage of drum battery, the trio almost sounding in parts here like Dutch band Finch's more debauched younger brother! After a tricky false-start (you'll pick it when you hear it!), the Rush-like stop-start vocal rocker `The Rocket Ride' reminds of German band Message with its propulsive guitar drama crossed with soul-searching lyrics, and the Budgie-esque `I'm Coming Home' is a peppy vocal rocker with little surges of nimble guitar soloing and blustery noise.

The flip-side's `You Mystify' is another longer one at almost eight minutes, gliding between groovy electric guitar sauntering, bluesy strutting and wailing soloing tantrums, and the Rush-like `Tool of My Trade' has trickles of tasty Hammond organ breaking through the gutsier erupting guitar bursts. The more introspective `My Heaven' crosses reflective acoustic and fiery electric guitar passages with a spiritual slant to the words, and lusty closer `Birdcatcher' is a relentless bluesy wailer that dips into a flute-carried dreamy interlude in the middle before rumbling to life again in the final moments.

Despite being adorned in a Roger Dean cover, `Clear Blue Sky' is hardly a prog-rock album, instead it crosses the sounds of both the late Sixties and emerging Seventies, offering rock tunes branching out with adventurous arrangements and longer unhurried soloing. But those who like guitar-driven `proto-prog' sounds or simply great rock albums with tons of character will likely dig the hell out of this spiky and addictive little one.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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