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CADMIUM

Sky

Eclectic Prog


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2 stars This is my first review on this site, and for that I decided to give my opinion on an album that doesn't yet have a full review posted.

I first became aware of Sky in the early 1980s with their second album. I quickly found their first album as well, and became a fan of both albums. The third album came out not long after that, and I was disappointed. It still had some good tracks, but not the level of energy of the other two. After that, "Forthcoming" was awfully boring.

I spotted "Cadmium" in a record store while traveling in London in 1984, decided to give them another chance, and bought it on casette (carrying a vinyl record in my backpack would have been impractical, and CDs were just appearing on the horizon). I did not give it a listen until I returned home a month later. It has been a long time since I last played it, so I fished it out of the bottom drawer for a close listening.

This album is an improvement over "Forthcoming", but it is far from Sky at their best. The weakest tracks, such as Troika (based on Prokovief's Lieutenant Kije) and Fayre, are lackluster performances. Two tracks written by Alan Tarney, A Girl in Winter and Return to Me, come off better, but they are middle-of-the-road, as are Night and The Boy from Dundee. I do like Mother Russia (nothing to do with the superior work by Renaissance) and Then and Now, but the best two tracks are Telex from Peru and Son of Hotta. Both of these hark back to "Sky 2", with the former recalling that album's Scipio (with its many bright little melodies), and the latter trying its best to live up to its family heritage, but ultimately falling short.

I no longer have "Forthcoming" in my collection, but I would give it one star from memory. This is better, but Sky definitely hit their peak in "Sky 2" (with Francis Monkman) and never returned to the same heights. This album gets two stars only.

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Send comments to rsmoore (BETA) | Report this review (#87851)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Too late!

Oh, if only this had been released instead of 'Sky5 Live' - or, better still, instead of the ice-cold 'Forthcoming'. While not as strong as Sky1 and Sky2, this album does capture SKY at what they did best: a mixture of uptempo reinterpretations of classic material and some thoughtful original compositions.

Again, though, I am reminded of how important Francis Monkman was to their initial success. Here SKY find themselves resorting to tin-pan alley writers such as Alan Tarney (CLIFF RICHARD'S songwriter) to whip them up some ditties. Surprisingly, Tarney almost comes off (as he did for Cliff in the astonishingly good - for Cliff - 'Stronger' at about the same time). Almost, but not quite. Other tracks on this album are echoes of former glory - and they knew it. Why else call a track 'Son of Hotta'?

Best moments are 'Fayre' and 'A Girl in Winter', while 'Telex from Peru' - a 'Connecting Rooms' clone - is worth a listen. Otherwise there's not much point in trying to track down this hard-to-find disc.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#114602)
Posted Thursday, March 08, 2007 | Review Permalink

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