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Crack The Sky: “Crack The Sky” 1975

The self-titled debut album by Crack the Sky was released in 1975. The band, hailing from West Virginia, had been playing together for a few years before signing to Lifesong Records and releasing this record. The album features a blend of progressive rock and hard rock with intricate arrangements, catchy melodies, and quirky lyrics.

The opening track, "Hold On," sets the tone for the album with its driving rhythm, soaring vocal harmonies, and intricate guitar work. Other standout tracks include "Surf City," "Hold On," and "Ice," a haunting ballad with a melancholic melody and lyrics about lost love. Quirkier selections include "I Don't Have a Tie," "Robots For Ronnie," and "Sea Epic".

One of the album's most well-known tracks is "She's a Dancer," a catchy and upbeat song with a memorable chorus and a funky guitar riff. The lyrics tell the story of a dancer who captures the attention of everyone around her.

Track by track (vinyl):

  1. Hold On:
    • Overview: The album opens with "Hold On," a dynamic track that showcases Crack the Sky's ability to blend progressive rock elements with catchy melodies. The song features intricate guitar work, rhythmic complexity, and strong vocal harmonies.
    • Musical Highlights: Pay attention to the shifting time signatures, the energetic guitar riffs, and the way the vocals interact with the instrumentation.
  2. Surf City:
    • Overview: "Surf City" takes a departure from the progressive rock sound and introduces a surf rock vibe. It's a piece that demonstrates the band's instrumental versatility and willingness to explore different genres.
    • Musical Highlights: Listen for the surf-inspired guitar melodies, the tight rhythm section, and the overall playfulness of the composition.
  3. A Sea Epic:
    • Overview: "A Sea Epic" is a longer, more ambitious track that allows the band to delve into extended musical explorations. It's characterized by shifts in mood, tempo, and musical themes, showcasing their progressive tendencies.
    • Musical Highlights: Explore the various sections of the song, including the quieter, more introspective moments and the more intense, guitar-driven passages.
  4. She's a Dancer:
    • Overview: "She's a Dancer" is one of the more accessible and radio-friendly tracks on the album. It's a catchy, upbeat song with a memorable chorus and a driving rhythm.
    • Musical Highlights: Pay attention to the infectious melody, the funky guitar riff, and the way the song combines elements of rock with more pop-oriented sensibilities.
  5. Robots for Ronnie:
    • Overview: "Robots for Ronnie" is a quirky and experimental track that showcases the band's dark sense of humor. It features unconventional lyrics and musical elements, adding a unique flavor to the album.
    • Musical Highlights: Listen for the offbeat lyrics, unconventional song structure, usage of strings and the band's willingness to inject humor and creativity into their music.
  6. Ice:
    • Overview: "Ice" is a more somber and reflective ballad. It showcases a different side of Crack the Sky, with emotive vocals and a melancholic atmosphere.
    • Musical Highlights: Explore the emotional depth of the song, including the evocative lyrics, the expressive vocal delivery, and the overall mood created by the instrumentation.
  7. Mind Baby:
    • Overview: "Mind Baby" is another track on the album, and it's known for its complex structure and progressive rock elements. It often features intricate instrumental passages and demonstrates the band's technical prowess.
    • Musical Highlights: Pay attention to the interplay between different instruments, the shifting dynamics, and the overall progressive nature of the composition.
  8. I Don't Have A Tie:
    • Overview: "I Don't Have A Tie" is known as one the more energetic tracks on the album.
    • Musical Highlights: Has a funky, almost Steely Dan groove to it, with good vocal harmonies and the type of quirky theme the band is known for. The track wakes up a mostly low-key side two.
  9. Sleep:
    • Overview: "Sleep" is the final track on the album and is known for its dreamy and atmospheric qualities. It might serve as a contrast to the more energetic tracks earlier in the album, providing a thoughtful conclusion.
    • Musical Highlights: Explore the ambient and atmospheric elements in the song, including the use of keyboards or other textural instruments that contribute to the dreamlike quality.

In summary, Crack the Sky's self-titled debut album is a diverse and accomplished work that combines progressive rock intricacies with accessible melodies. The band's willingness to experiment with different styles and moods contributes to the album's lasting appeal.

Despite the record company's lackluster promotion, and nearly non-existent airplay, Rolling Stone named "Crack The Sky" the “debut album of the year.” The magazine ranks it in the top fifty prog rock albums of all time. The album showcases the band's impressive musicianship and songwriting skills, and remains a beloved classic of the progressive rock genre.

Crack The Sky genealogy and discography
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