If you thought that ambient music couldn’t be accessible, then you’re in for a surprise. The Sky Life has perfected the fusion of airy, atmospheric sonic experiences with straight-ahead rock on the its sophomore effort, Roots and Wings. Even the name of the album seems to reflect the band’s ability to unite soaring instrumentals with solid, grounded and catchy rhythms and lyrics.
The Sky Life doesn’t waste any time exposing its mastery of the craft, as the opening song, “Reflective Eyes,” features huge, anthematic moments stitched together with unpretentious rock moments. The title track on Roots and Wings pushes ahead with driving percussion, offering a diverse array of sounds, from staccato guitar strumming to meandering piano lines.
In “Sober Heart, Sober Mind,” lead singer Justin Carter muses, “There is nothing more to this but something more to me,” which seems to be an accurate assessment of the music of The Sky Life. On Roots and Wings, the band puts everything out there – honest lyrics, engaging music and the atmospheric, otherworldly flashes of shoegazing progressive rock, without the attitude and inaccessibility.
It’s hard not to be taken away with the music, but astute listeners will also appreciate the well-crafted lyrics. Carter dishes out a lot of wisdom, some poetic, and some deceptively simple, as on “In The Dark”: “A ppreciate the past for what it was but don’t get caught there too long…Now on whom to depend when you’ve opened up the valve and out through your eyes pours broken dreams?”
Roots and Wings is the cure for the common rock album, as The Sky Life knows when to let fly with musical interludes and when to reel everything in for tight, impactful choruses. Beautiful instrumentation and honest lyrics with heartfelt delivery make this a treat.