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Crack The Sky - Animal Notes CD (album) cover


Crack The Sky


Heavy Prog

3.48 | 55 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars At their best, Crack The Sky reached the heights of artrock expression. A myriad of styles intersect effortlessly, lyrics are clever and delivered with equal measures of humor and gravity, and the performances are confident but not overwrought. The best Crack The Sky albums equal the best material by peers like 10cc, Queen and Max Webster. 'Animal Notes' is their second album, and along with successor 'Safety In Numbers', it's a high point in their discography. Both are recommended to all prog fans.

Coming off the quirky but relatively conservative self-titled debut, John Palumbo led Crack The Sky through eight engaging numbers on 'Animal Notes'. The brooding atmosphere of "Animal Skins" and ambitious melancholy of "Maybe I Can Fool Everybody (Tonight)" highlight Side 1. The musical themes in "Maybe..." are extremely affective, pulling distinct emotions from the listener: sadness, loneliness, longing. Aided by Palumbo's near-genius lyric writing, "Maybe..." remains a highlight of their catalog. Side 1 is rounded off with the harder rocking "We Want Mine" and "Wet Teenager", setting themselves apart thanks to dextrous playing and Palumbo's brilliant wordplay.

Side 2 gets proggier. "Rangers At Midnight" has everything you could want: a well- written storyline, an impressive dynamic range, excellent playing, unique arrangement ideas. Next track "Virgin...No" brings things to an entirely different plane, a hard rocking tune with curious shifts in tempo and time signature. "Invaders From Mars" finds Palumbo sounding like Genesis-era Peter Gabriel, and the music isn't far from the more linear material on 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway'. Its final crashing flourishes lead to the sober "Play On", a smart, introspective ending.

There aren't a ton of keyboards here, a trait that sets artrock apart from the symphonic end of the genre. The guitar work on "Rangers At Midnight" takes the place of keyboards with commanding leads and themes, much in the way Brian May worked inside Queen's most ambitious songs. The players impress subtly, allowing Palumbo's songwriting gift to be the main focus. Though poor Crack The Sky albums outnumber good ones, the good ones should be investigated by even the most demanding prog fan.

slipperman | 4/5 |


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