What does it sound like?:
I remember being fond of Sky back in the early eighties, being quite taken by their attempt to meld the worlds of classical and rock music. Here, their seven studio albums, plus a live dvd, are remastered in one handy box.
For those who don’t remember that far back, the band’s classic line up comprised John Williams, Herbie Flowers, Francis Monkman, Tristan Fry and Kevin Peek, although membership of the group changed regularly during its later life span. The first couple of albums still sound pretty good, although maybe not as good as I remembered them, with a combination of virtuoso type interpretations of classical material combined with the band members own original compositions – the strongest of these for me were the lengthy pieces Where Opposites Meet from the first album and FIFO from the second. The classical pieces are a little similar in conception to what ELP used to do, but without the inventive radical reinterpretations cooked up by that band. I always felt Sky’s versions didn’t really add that much, perhaps with the exception of their souped up take on Bach’s Toccata. The third, fourth and fifth albums really offered more of the same basic but successful formula, the third having more of a jazz influence, while the fourth concentrated entirely on their classical reboots, having no original compositions at all. For me personally, the band was by now running out of steam (and ideas), particularly with the departure of John Williams at the end of 1983. They ploughed on regardless though, and produced a couple more albums, one containing all original material, with the other comprised entirely of Mozart pieces, but the interest of the public, and of myself, had really moved on by then. The live dvd has a performance from 1990, originally shown on TV at the time, but with a couple of unbroadcast tracks added. Although the show included a couple of promising new pieces, which ultimately never made it on to a studio album, along with a selection of past highlights, their best years were behind them by then.
What does it all *mean*?
It was an interesting experience to hear these albums again for what must have been the first time in about thirty years. There are a few tracks that still stand up, particularly on the first two albums, but overall it’s somewhat surprising in hindsight that the band remained so successful for so long. Maybe they were just ‘of their time’.
Goes well with…
Dusting off old albums in your collection.
Might suit people who like…
Classical/rock combinations, easy on the ear instrumental music..