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Skylab, the Los Angeles based alternative rock band has just released their debut conceptual CD entitled, Side Effects, on ColorSoundRecords. The music is a blend of the Smashing Pumpkins meets Ziggy Stardust with a twist of Jane’s Addiction. Written, produced, recorded and arranged by Roger Gisbourne, he is both a vocalist and an acoustic guitarist concerned about expressing his inner most feelings and thoughts through the successful use of electronic wizardry.
Skylab connects and makes contact with their new CD, which is like an intergalactic experience exploring the realm of space and the universe. Check out their high tech website www.skylabcom.com which is a mini-movie in the tradition of 2001 Space Odyssey. This band is very forward thinking and progressive in their approach to their stylized music. This seventeen track CD explores the concepts of alienation, feelings of being invisible, and the human connection to satellites revolving the planet earth in the tradition of ‘Big Brother’. Skylab is an engaging collection of sonic, electronic and dramatic dreamers for a new generation.
Skylab is comprised of Roger Gisbourne, vocals and acoustic guitars, Jeremy Kelley, bass guitar, James Safechuck, guitars, Billy Slater, drums and percussion, and Charles Van Devender, guitar.
The industrial vibe is introduced at the outset of the CD beginning with the first track titled, ”Sender Receiver,” which is aggressive, sonic energy tune. The heavy drum beat keeps the rest of the music focused and centered. Electronic effects are abounding. In your face hard-hitting assault impinges on your impulses. These guys are skillful at having you enter their world while they rely on using the best components of the Smashing Pumpkins to convey their music. Gisbourne voice is reminiscent of Billy Corrigan’s signature sound.
“Ignition,” has the hit hats of the drums keeping the music even tempered as Gisbourne explores the concept of space and liftoff, perhaps a simile to the operating systems he surrounds himself in. Electronic gadgetry screeches out at you woven throughout the tune. The guitars lend themselves to soloing and carrying the music as they incorporate a special microphone to draw you into their world. The guitars are melodic and constant. The ending of the song winds down as if the Apollo has landed.
“The Space Case Interlude Being No One,” uses a live string section and segues into insistent drumbeats and antagonistic guitars that thrust Gisbourne’s vocals upfront. This is definitely the best track on the disc and could easily be their first single. The tune explores the artificiality of one’s love interest and the challenges of being alone. The music pounces at you with their strike of guitars and strong vocal track. This tune has you rockin’ as they voice over commands from mission control, again evidence of their conceptual space odyssey main focus. You’ll find yourself rockin out and turning up this track very loud. A collision of guitars and feedback finishes out the song.
“Kill Me,” a complicated love song features Gisbourne explaining his failure with his mate. His vocals parallel that of David Bowie in his early days of Ziggy Stardust. The song is a solid wall of sonic sound polished off with Gisbourne’s pleasant falsetto. The song has a Queen feel about it and even utilizes screaming guitars and distortion like the supergroup. Gisbourne’s creates subsonic harmonies.
“Radition Skies,” has a nice piano intro as Gisbourne admits to the listener and his lover of his wrongdoing and inadequacies. His mental picture of his girlfriend does not measure up to her reality. Most people may imagine their lover in a certain vein and in reality they do not measure up to the image conjured up in the subconscious. The lyrics suggest ‘if you pull me from your life support then I’ll die,’ intimating his love worn ways as the piano keeps the melody in balance moving the song along its course.
The only obvious fault visible from this collection of inner space music would lay in the fact that there isn’t that much variation in the song selection. One tune seems to bleed into the next. Anyway, climb aboard this space ship and lose yourself amongst the harsh guitars, hard-hitting drumbeats and high-octane vocals evenly paired alongside intertwining electronics on Skylab's Side Effects. It’s a breath of fresh oxygenated air.
Susan Salva is a Staff Writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.