Skyline Blvd. - Skyline Blvd.


Year of Release: 2001
Label: LokieDog Records
Catalog Number: SB1680
Format: CD
Total Time: 24:44:00

Skyline Blvd are a mixture of 80s pop-rock, 90s modern rock with a dash of modern punk -- raw vocals behind a driving beat. I say "are," but Skyline Blvd is really just one man with many guises. Steve Bashford wrote, played everything, recorded and produced this self-titled disc. In his guise of Ian Sterling, he is the raw voiced vocalist ("lead flem" -- though technically it should be spelled "phlem"...), which is very much up front in the mix. On "bass/fish" he is Grovemaster Potato Boy (ooookay) -- bass booms out of your speakers on nearly every track. On keys, he is Ruben Jackolfski... rounding out himself, so to speak, he is Jethro Twostring on banjo and Lemi Attem on maracas (oookay). Drums are programmed, though only sometimes that doesn't seem to be the case.

This is a very short album at about 25 minutes; the average time is is about 3 minutes (once the pop standard). One of the tracks I really like is "Red Lights," which is closer to modern prog than other tracks on the album, which aren't prog at all -- a little harder than Echolyn, with a just a tinge of roots rock (Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, etc.) and...dare I say it? ... Hootie And The Blowfish, but this mainly because there are a few brief moments where Bashford (as vocalist) reminds me of Darius Rucker. How that really qualifies as modern prog... well, it's something I can't exactly put my finger on, as I know simply name checking Echolyn doesn't really cut it. More keys than Spock's Beard, but it's along those lines. "Roll Along" is rather nice track that exemplifies what you might expect from an album called Skyline Blvd - it is one those breezy, open road mid-tempo rockers, which just enough fuzzed guitar to give it a gritty edge ... like the album cover, a hilltop view of the harsh city below. That city is San Francisco and Oakland in this case (based on the album artwork), and there is really a Skyline Blvd....

As for that 80s synth pop feel, one needs to zip to the end of the album for "Tell." I thought of The Fixx (without Cy Curnin). The opening track "Krusader" also has a different 80s vibe, which includes a sprinkling of a Rush influence; those tracks where Geddy Lee eschewed his bass in favor of keys. Don't think "oh cool, Rush" -- it's not that strong, more impressionistic. The track does grab you, however, and has a catchy chorus. but only if you like synth pop. Bashford as vocalist is okay. He's on key, but a little nasally. The sentence that opened this review was conceived whilst listening to "A New Beginning" and adequately describes this track. The bass is loose and very bouncy. The drumming is crisp and tight for the choruses though a little soulless, cold. "Sat_Mourn" is so...oh, a bunch of bands rush through my head: Green Day, Alien Ant Farm, and the like. Energetic, aggressive, percussion-heavy tracks; nice for a party where everyone's dancing, or for freeway driving... "Ominous" is what would have happened if latter day REM (Monster period) had INXS's drummer behind the kit and Slash (Guns N' Roses) grinding out a guitar drone, all trying to outdo Kurt Cobain... not that any of them would have ever done so, except maybe INXS in the 90s as they tried to reclaim a career that went pfssst.

Um, well, as a pop-rock album, it's okay. A little cold in places, but I don't dislike it. Which sort is like saying I only sorta like it. I like it more than that would indicate. It's not a bad album, but I'd be more inclinded to recommend it to modern rock fans than classic prog fans, if you know what I mean.


Tracklisting:
Krusader (2:52) / A New Beginning (3:18) / Sat_Mourn (2:37) / Red Lights (3:30) / Ominous (3:04) / Be Remembered (2:38) / Roll Along (3:51) / Tell (2:54)

Musicians:
Ian Sterling - lead flem
Jethro Twostring - banjo
Grovemaster Potato Boy - bass/fish
Lemi Attem - maracas
Ruben Jackolfski - keys
all in the person of Steve Bashford

Discography:
Skyline Blvd. (2001)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: June 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website:
Hits: 672
Language: english

  

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