Review of Souvenir Album by The Blueskies

Blueskies are a Brighton based 5 piece electro pop outfit formed in 2006. 'Souvenir' is their debut EP/Mini Album release on Killing Moon Records. XYZ the local free music and listings mag on the Sussex coast describes their sound as 'Simply beautiful pop music.' The Blueskies cite their influences as The Postal Service, a band noted for their cover of Phil Collins 'Against All Odds', and Air, the French outfit capable of producing sublime sounds of glorious and sweeping texture. Nice mix!

Brighton is not without a few notable musical types, Nick Cave, Natasha Khan and Blood Red Shoes among some of the many creative folk hailing from, or residing in and around, the arty haven. The Fringe, Great Escape Festival and vibrant local music scene maintain a focus on, and an interest in, developing and nurturing new talent. The Blueskies would now appear to be ready to finish their rather long locally focused apprenticeship, spread their wings and let the whole country in on their synth flavoured, 80's heavy pop. No longer content just to support Absent Elk, or DJ as 'The Blueskies At Night' , the boys with 'a passion for writing infectious melodies and making people dance' want to share their tunes with us all.

The Blueskies Souvenir Album

With a 'Noteworthy shine in his eyes', 'Matthew' opens up the six track release with a synth backed melodic guitar tune containing a killer bass line from Kelwen Cooke and some rather nasal, happily depressed vocals courtesy of Mike (no I don't wear Farah's) Fawcett. 'Hen Nights And The Homeless' then recalls best forgotten Friday night antics but lacks real wit, satire or bite....

'Why am I here with drunk girls in high heals who stammer and sometimes crawl?
All hands on deck, these girls are thirsty for more.'

'Storage Space' should definitely have been given none on this CD. The slower attempt at a more balladic number fails on all counts; musically, lyrically, emotionally and more importantly entertainingly. The Wiggles do meaningful better. 'Daggers' brings some cohesion and form back but delivers the home truth from within...'Lead me to the door, I have seen enough here.'

Save the best to last is certainly true on Souvenir. 'Royal Blood' nearly rescues the set. It is the only song on the EP with a decent hook. Its playful rhythm, sci-fi synth and heavier bass notes contrast and compliment each other wonderfully. Why then give your best song away as a free download? If it's to get you to buy the other 5 then I'm still not convinced it's quite good enough.

Having fortuitously had the pleasure of production from Paul (FranzF/Mogwai/Arab Strap) Savage Blueskies should have been sitting pretty. On their debut evidence however it would appear not. If this is their best work encapsulated in six songs after 4 years then to reverse a phrase, there will be no need to wear shades 'cos the futures not that bright. Elements of Tears For Fears, OMD and the Thompson Twins may ring around a few of the tunes but in the end Blueskies would appear to be just another indie guitar band with a synth.

Andrew Lockwood.

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