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Crack The Sky

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Crack The Sky Crack the Sky album cover
3.89 | 92 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hold On (3:00)
2. Surf City (3:54)
3. A Sea Epic (6:33)
4. She's a Dancer (3:54)
5. Robots for Ronnie (4:39)
6. Ice (4:36)
7. Mind Baby (4:32)
8. I Don't Have a Tie (3:04)
9. Sleep (7:48)

Total Time 42:00

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
10. Let Me Go Home (A Visit to the Projects) (3:25)
11. Eileen, I Lean on You (3:50)
12. Hold On (2:14)
13. Dr. Octopus (Part 2) (3:09)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Palumbo / lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Jim Griffiths / guitar, harmonies
- Rick Witkowski / guitar, percussion
- Joe Macre / bass, harmonies
- Joey D'Amico / drums, harmonies

- George Marge / woodwind (3,5,9)
- David Sanborn / alto sax (4,7)
- Michael Brecker / sax (4,7)
- Randy Brecker / trumpet (4,7)
- Tom Jones / trombone (9)
- Terence P. Minogue / arrangements, co-producer
- Ray Dahrouge / vocals (13)

Releases information

Artwork: Robert L. Heimall with Mary Walsh (photo)

LP Lifesong ‎- LS 6000 (1975, US)

CD Lifesong ‎- LSCD-7002 (2002, US) 24-bit remaster by Elliott Federman with 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy CRACK THE SKY Crack the Sky Music

CRACK THE SKY Crack the Sky ratings distribution

(92 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CRACK THE SKY Crack the Sky reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars A few weeks ago, I had the surprise to find CTS had been included on the Archives, but from memories of my Canadian teenhood and the few aural encounters I had with them, I had problems relating them to prog. My souvenir was of an average radio-friendly hard-rock band that had a promising debut album, but little more to offer the teen I was then and the prog buff adult I have become. So I set out to see if the national library had anything to lend, and much to my surprise, they did

CTS's debut album is a rather tight rock that approaches progressive moments - their third track Sea Epic is not far from Kansas (for the guitars) meeting Ambrosia (for the string arrangements), but mostly develops straight-forward short rock songs dominated by the guitars in general but the keys make regular appearances on this record, something that is to diminish with further albums. Robots and Sleep are also rather pleasant tracks, and Ice is quite inspired and maybe the most progressive track on the album, but there are some real stinkers (Dancer just to name one). On the whole this first album is, as I remembered it, worthy of notice. Too bad the following albums do not hold the promise made with this one.

Just in case you care enough to investigate, this album was coupled with their fourth studio - but fifth overall - album (an odd non-sequential pairing) by Lifesong Record in 8! (cat# LSCD 8801). While the debut is worth your investigation in case you have no other inspiration, the other record is definitely not.

Review by loserboy
4 stars Here is where it all began...the debut hard hitting album by the band known as CRACK THE SKY. This explosive art rock album is a true stonker housing many of the most fan loved tunes "ICE", "Hold On" and "Surf City". Musically this band play a slice of pure original progressive rock creating for themselves definitely their own unique sound and approach. On the Lifesong remaster they have included 4 extra bonus tracks offering some rare and unreleased bits for their past. The album even has a little bit of mellotron. An awesome album and deserves a lot for attention then they got.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This was a very good debut for Crack The Sky. The songs are tight, well written and arranged. Although there are only two complete songs, plus a few instrumental parts on other songs I would say qualify as prog.

One thing that stands out is the way the musicians play together so perfectly. Joe Macre's snaky, rubbery bass is perfectly aligned with Joey D'Amico's drumming. And guitarists Jim Griffiths and Rick Witkowski aound like they grew up playing together.

One standout song is "A Sea Epic", which is, well, a sea epic. I won't give away the punch line. Another good one is "She's A Dancer", a gender-bender song with a great solo section at the end, featuring the Brecker Brothers and David Sanborn on horns. The best song is "Ice", the most proggy song on the record. This song is only four and a half minutes here, but live versions have been know to go over twice that.

Beware of the CD version coupling this album with the awful "White Music". It's missing "Mind Baby" from this album, where, if they needed the space, there are plenty of stinkers they could have dropped from the other album.

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

Crack the Sky's eponymous debut is surprisingly good.

So, the bands for 3RP were being announced last winter and it was time for another big announcement. They had just announced It Bites and IQ, I'll admit, I was hoping for Frost*. Instead they announced "Crack the Sky". My first thought was "Who?" I mentioned this to my uncle who was a progger in his day and he mentioned how much he loved them. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, I was given their first few albums to listen to. . . They're really good.

For starters, they do have a somewhat dated sound; this was obviously recorded in the seventies, though with progressive rock, that tends to be more of a badge of honor rather than a problem.

I'm hard pressed to describe exactly what they sound like, the best that I can come up with is this. Take the quirkiness of Mr. Frank Zappa's lyrics sung by a mellower John Fogherty and throw it over a more progressive version of Led Zeppelin. All in all, it's a pretty good combination. Guitarist Rick Witkowski in particular seems to emulate the classic Jimmy Page guitar sound.

"Crack the Sky" starts out with "Hold On" a rocking Zep sounding tune with some wonderful four part harmonies punctuating the chorus and odd musical breaks. This goes directly into the funky "Surf City". Again, the music has some odd moments of silence intermixed within the almost doo wop vocals.

"Sea Epic" is just that, a jaunting six and a half minute shanty about a sinking ship; chock full of mystery, intrigue and humor. The 'hero' starts the song out, nobly requesting that God save the Admiral and the Captain. Half way through, he apparently comes to his senses and prays for salvation for both himself and the cook. This is a well done song, again fully of epic harmonies and salty intrigue.

"She's a Dancer" reminds us to look before we leap; you never know quite what's lurking down there. Another well done song. "Robots for Ronnie" laments the fate of a boy who just can't seem to make any friends. The tearful chorus cries that we need to make robots for the child to keep him company.

All in all, the first five songs are all fantastic, each worthy of four stars in their own right.

"Ice" is another Zep sounding song, I'm not too terribly familiar with Zeppelin, but I'm thinking it's kind of a clone of "Children of the Sun". "Mind Baby" is forgettable.

"I Don't Have a Tie" has a Steely Dan feel to it, good vocals, good harmonies and kind of a funky groove to it This is the best track of the back half of the CD. "Sleep" is another classic rock sounding track with kind of an America feel to it.

And voila, we have "Crack the Sky", basically, the first five songs are great while the last half is a tour of the seventies classic rock scene. I give this one a four star rating, more like a three and a half which rounds to four. If you're looking for fun seventies rock, this is a band worth exploring.

Review by stefro
3 stars The frankly non-existent sub-genre of danceable prog seemingly begins and ends with the brazen American outfit Crack The Sky, a short-lived group who somehow fused a funky art-pop sensibility onto their furiously-inventive pop-prog melodies - and got away it. Featuring some wonderfully sharp lyrical observations, impressive musical interplay and some rather un- proggishly short songs, this quirky group's 1975 debut is living proof that there really was an artful side lurking beyond the limited confines of the mid-seventies American prog scene, a scene dominated by a handful of once-decent groups - Journey, Styx, Starcastle, Kansas - who nonetheless all managed to eventually adhere to the commercially-viable, stadium-rock sized aspirations of the cynical record company executives who controlled the purse strings. Crack The Sky, it seems, were the eccentric exceptions that prove this rule. Very much a product of the 1970's but sounding like they both: a) belonged to the eighties and: b) had been piping a certain drug found in their name, this was a group who sought to add a touch of hysterically campy new-wave glamour to proceedings, blending the high-brow creativity of groups like Yes and Genesis with the playful pazzaz of David Bowie, Roxy Music et al. It doesn't always work - sometimes the group overcook their formula to the point of silliness - yet when they do click, as on tunes such as the wonderfully absurd 'She's A Dancer', Crack The Sky really show their bones. Pity, then, that the five-piece are unable to fill-out an entire album with nuggets like these, as much of this debut album is divided between either the inspired or the insipid. Tracks like 'Surf City' seem half-formed, yet on the other end of the scale you'll find complex witticisms adorning tricksy time-signatures in almost perfect harmony, the excessively energetic 'I Don't Have A Tie' a testament to Crack The Sky's indulgent style. That said, this a very singular release, and at times the music defies labelling, a sure signifier of true progressive instincts. An uneven first try then, but this nicely ironic debut is just as technically enthralling as anything by your more serious-minded groups, and it's a genuine relief to find actual humour in the progressive rock genre that doesn't rely on the surreal or the fantastical. To put it mildly: you ain't heard anything quite like this before. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by Warthur
5 stars I just don't get why the debut album by Crack the Sky wasn't a monster hit at the time. Sure, the US didn't seem to produce as many big prog groups during the era compared to the UK (or, for that matter, Italy and other hotbeds of the scene), but Kansas and Styx were gathering steam in 1975 and Crack the Sky feel like they should appeal to fans of either group whilst at the same time having enough personality of their own not to seem like bandwagon-hoppers.

In particular, the style on this album finds them straddling the worlds of prog and the harder-edged sort of art rock (with perhaps a touch of glam rock theatricality). There's just enough bite to the harder-edged tracks that if you squint you can almost imagine them as a proto-New Wave group - which by rights should have set them up well to face coming musical changes - whilst at the same time songs like A Sea Epic show their ability to go theatrical when they want.

With a fresh approach, an original sound, a dose of wit to their songwriting, and a clutch of listenable tunes, their self- titled album has an absolute ton going for it. (Modern ears may take issue with some lyrics, but I am reasonably confident they're meant to be a little uncomfortable for the purposes of the song in question.)

As it is, it sank like a stone, winning critical acclaim from major periodicals but failing to perform commercially because their record label, Lifesong, made an absolute mess of the promotion and distribution - for instance, they ended up becoming very big in Baltimore because Baltimore was one of the few cities where Lifesong actually shipped a decent number of copies. It's an injustice on the scale of the commercial faltering of Pavlov's Dog's debut album (the result of an even sillier bit of record company politics).

Latest members reviews

4 stars Can I consider this prog? Well... does it even matter? 8/10 The eponymous of CRACK THE SKY is energetic, heavy and interesting. The first two tracks ( Hold on and Surf City) are the hooks that make you listen to this 13-tracks long progressive (?) hard rock piece. I'll tackle this detail abo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1673197) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Tuesday, December 27, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Crack the Sky ? What can I say? This band was about as unique and witty as it could get in 1975. Progressive Rock was just starting to mature, when this edgy Prog-Crossover group hit the scene. It is actually quite controversial among Progressive Rock fans as to whether this band is progressive o ... (read more)

Report this review (#846454) | Posted by TechnicallySpeaking | Sunday, October 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best album from CTS. Progressive elements together with an often very groovy 70's hard rocking vibe. Very good arrangements within the group as well as horn and string sections. I like all the songs on the album but Ice is a very original track in 3/4 time. Its clever twists and effective br ... (read more)

Report this review (#187184) | Posted by Sacred Baboon | Monday, October 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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