Crack The Sky - Ghost

Year of Release: 2002
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: CTS102901
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:59:00

Crack The Sky fits into a genre that one might call near-prog. That is, they are not overtly progressive, but they play an eccentric form of rock that's willing to take chances and is often quite complex. Their music is almost always tongue-in-cheek, as if band leader John Palumbo is winking at his audience as he presents the band's fare. Their last album, Cut, was a good mix of straight rock with a progressive edge and was easy to like from the first listen. The new album, Ghost, takes a little more time to get into, probably because it's more laid back.

Ghost is an apt name for the album, as it describes much of the music within. Many of the compositions offer an ethereal sound, with drifting guitar chordings, repeating patterns, processed vocals, and keyboards drenched in reverb. As a result, Ghost doesn't reach out from the speakers and grab you by the throat like CTS's harder fare. Instead, it's an album that grows on you with each listen.

The listener familiar with Crack the Sky won't be surprised by the first track, "Coconuts," which presents that classic, funky-prog sound for which CTS are famous. Starting with the second track, "Ghost," however, things take an abrupt turn toward those aforementioned "ghostly" songs. In fact, the greater part of the track "Ghost" is a flowing, repeating, four-chord pattern that provides the background for both the verses and choruses.

The songs "I," "Go," "Fly," "Zoom," and "Zazen" are also laid-back, slow-tempo compositions. Of these, the nine-minute "Zoom" will be of the most interest to prog fans. First, this song is an obvious nod to Pink Floyd, with the chorus being lifted almost directly from the classic Floyd track "Comfortably Numb." More important, though, is the very progressive center section that's some of the best stuff CTS has done.

Of the remaining tracks, "Tomorrow" and "USA" are the closest to the sound that one might expect from Crack the Sky. The former features funky dual guitar parts and even some almost-Latin rhythms, whereas the latter presents Palumbo's classic sense of satire in a rocking, yet quirky, song that offers a cynical view of the world and its relationship to the USA. The final track is a send-up of classic, acoustic blues.

All in all, Ghost is a departure for Crack the Sky. As a result, hardcore fans may be taken by surprise. Still, although it took me a few listens to get into this album, I'm glad I gave it the chance. It's an enjoyable outing that shows the CTS crew trying something a little different.

Coconuts (5:52) / Ghost (4:57) / I (5:20) / Go (6:01) / Fly (5:05) / Tomorrow (4:08) / Zoom (8:57) / USA (5:18) / Zazen (5:21) / Husband (3:54)

John Palumbo - vocals, guitar, synthesizer
John Tracey - drums
Cary Ziegler - bass
Bobby Hird - guitar
Rick Witkowski - guitar
Glenn Workman - keyboards, piano

Crack The Sky (1975)
Animal Notes (1976)
Safety in Numbers (1978)
Live Sky (1978)
White Music (1980)
Classic Crack (1980)
Photoflamingo (1981)
World In Motion I (1983)
The End (1983)
Raw (1987)
Dog City (1989)
From The Greenhouse (1989)
Rare (1994)
Crack Attic (1997)
Cut (1998)
Live: Recher Theater (2000)
The Best Of The Rest (2000)
Animal Notes/Safety In Numbers (2000)
Live On WBAB (2000)
The Best Of Crack The Sky (2000)
Ghost (2002)
Dogs From Japan (2004)
The Sale (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 712
Language: english


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