The anticipation for the debut Skylights has been huge for a long while now. The band has slogged their way onwards and upwards to the point where they are selling out shows as far afield as Scotland and Ireland. They are clearly outperforming their beloved Leeds United too. As Leeds head for the Championship Skylights are heading to the top of the Premier League! Will this album cement them in the classic UK rock mantle? I think it might. The record kicks off with “Outlaw”, a mighty powerful statement indeed and in my opinion their finest single so far. What better way to kick off an album than with an absolute banger. It features Turnbull’s finest riffs to date and Rob’s vocal oozes a heady passion. “Nothing Left To Say” drops the intensity very, very slightly, but the sweeping chorus and haunting backing vocals from Jonny more than compensate. The guitar screams like a banshee on heat and Jonny’s bass would register on the Richter scale. “What You Are” makes it three anthems in a row. Then comes “Britannia” which doesn’t let up, Myles’ drumming is reminiscent of early Public Image Limited and drives the tunes, ultimately positive and hopeful, lyrics.
The acoustic take on “Darkness Falls” brings the power level down a little and is a truly sublime ballad. The string arrangements are classy and enhance the already great track. This is the band’s most complete and beautiful lyrics in my opinion. Rob’s voice has a yearning, soulful feel to it and you really do believe he is sorry as the words say. If you like post-punk “Enemies” has that kind of feel and once again features a riff-fest with the might of a neutron bomb. Just over halfway through the tune has a stupendous psychedelic feel and the chorus won’t let you go. “Breaking outta school cos we were high, Kicking down doors just a you and I, Enemies they’ve got to know, Dream those dreams don’t let ’em go” These lads have never let their dreams go and this album proves it. Next is perhaps the one Skylights track that everyone is surely familiar with, “YRA”. It is always a true highlight of their live set and it shows how far the band has grown when you consider that this great tune is not even close to being the best on the album.
“Lifeline” opens with the couplet, “I’m in the mood, I’m in the mood for grooving” and this is the Skylights track that is crying out for a warped dance mix, someone like the Chemical Brothers would blow this one out of the sky. It is already a force 10 funk gale with titanic tornado riffs. The whole band are on fire with “Take Me Somewhere” which is reminiscent of Green Day’s “When September Ends”, albeit a little faster. The album closes with “Driving Me Away” which has a Beatlesesque feel in the production and orchestration and shows just how versatile this band can be. Some versions of the release will include a commentary from Rob and Turnbull on all the tracks and they add a nice curio to the whole thing, although I think only Skylights fanatics will listen to them regularly. The album is an absolutely superb debut and without doubt a contender for album of the year! The vinyl and CD version of the album is out on 6th May and the digital release follows a week later. “Driving Me Away” will be the band’s next single and that comes out on 6th May. All on the rather splendid 42’s Records.
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